Galway City Council has removed nearly 20 tonnes of garbage in a bid to tackle illegal dumps in the Connacht Ulster Waste Region.
The local authority cleared 19 tonnes of waste material dumped illegally in spots around the city as part of a summer campaign to raise awareness and stop the practice.
Illegal dumping is not only unsightly – it can create environmental, fire, and health hazards as toxins leach into ground soil and water.
Health issues related to illegal dumping can include asthma, headaches, nausea, and infections as well as more long-term conditions such as cancer, congenital illness, and respiratory and cardiovascular diseases.
The dumps can attract vermin such as rats as well as drive down property values in the area – which may have a knock-on effect on crime.
19 tonnes cleared
A number of clean ups have taken place during the campaign.
City Council Director of Services, Climate Change & Environment Gary McMahon commented: “Over the past number of months we have targeted dumping black-spots to remove illegally dumped material and hopefully eliminate the culture of dumping.
“To date we have removed approximately 19 tonnes of material from locations in Westside, Sliabh Ban, Ballybane and the Dyke Road.”
The campaign to raise awareness and tackle the problem took place in nine counties in the Connacht Ulster Waste Region over the summer.
Poster for the campaign against illegal dumping
It spread the message using social media, local radio, and newspapers to support the ongoing efforts of local authorities in cleaning up illegally dumped waste material.
Regional Co-ordinator at the Regional Waste Enforcement Office Sean Scott said:
“Our overall aim is to eliminate unsightly illegal dumps and further protect our environment…as well as engaging with the public to ensure that areas remain clean once clean-ups have taken place.
“Significant costs are associated with cleaning up illegally dumped waste and there is an onus on all citizens to dispose of waste in the correct manner.
“[Going forward,] the use of technology including drones as well as overt and covert surveillance equipment will become more effective and act as a deterrent.”
Members of the public and householders should be aware that using an unlicensed waste service to dispose of waste is a criminal offence.
Each individual or business is responsible for their waste.
Mr McMahon noted: “We’re very grateful to all the very responsible householder and community minded people who do the right thing – who dispose of their waste correctly using authorised waste collectors, the extensive network of bring banks and the public and private Civic Amenity Centres located throughout the region.
“However, there is still a cohort of people who are irresponsible in disposing of their waste which ultimately results in small and large scale illegal dumps and to those individuals we appeal to cease this activity.”
The Connacht Ulster Waste Region campaign against illegal dumping is supported by the Region and funded by the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment.