Figures provided by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) also show that, in the past four years, the tip-off line has received more than 3,500 calls about issues ranging from noise pollution to illegal dumping. Last year’s figure of 1,606 is the lowest annual tally in four years and comprises 1,007 complaints about illegal dumping, 235 for air or odour pollution concerns, 93 relating to noise pollution, and 271 calls related to other issues.
Acts of polluting or illegal dumping can be reported on the 24-hour CallSave telephone number 1850 365 121, with local authorities and/or the gardaí and the EPA to then follow up on the information provided by the public. However, an EPA spokesperson said: “It is important to note that these are only a portion of the complaints that would be received directly by all local authorities across the country. “For example. local authorities received over 11,000 non-litter waste complaints in 2017. Litter numbers are a much larger portion of complaint numbers, e.g., for 2017, there were over 48,000 across the country to all local authorities.”
More in-depth analysis of the calls to the complaints line shows that in the last three years of operation at least 130 abandoned cars have featured among the complaints. While a small number of those were found in counties Donegal, Galway, Tipperary and elsewhere, the vast majority are in the four local authority areas in Dublin and in the nearby counties of Kildare and Wicklow.
Backyard burning was even more common, with more than 350 complaints relating to that issue lodged with the complaints line since the start of 2016. Collated results show that in the three years to the end of last November, there were almost 800 cases of illegal dumping of more than 20 bags and more than 1,700 cases of illegal dumping of fewer than 20 bags.
As for the counties worst affected, according to complaints lodged, Wicklow fared worst. It was the site of at least 600 complaints. The next worst affected was neighbouring South Dublin County Council and then Dublin City Council, both with well over 500 complaints.
Cork City Council was the relevant local authority in relation to 220 complaints, meaning it was the fourth worst affected area in the country based on complaints to the complaints line.
The situation over illegal dumping in Co Wicklow has resulted in a number of local initiatives, including the Pure Project, which said earlier this year that it had removed 13 tonnes of waste since the start of January. It is one of a number of projects to use CCTV at various locations to deter fly-tipping and catch those responsible for illegal dumping, while last year the Department of the Environment said increased funding will be made available to employ drones to monitor beauty spots and tackle dumping.
Source – Irish Examiner