Illegal dumping is on the increase nationally with almost all local authorities reporting a rise in both fly tipping at known blackspots, and littering in more populated areas. These problems are now more apparent as those in the community who previously picked up after their dirty neighbours are unable to do so due to Covid-19 restrictions.
In Wicklow the Pure Project, a collaboration of a number of organisations, including Wicklow County Council, National Parks and Wildlife Service, and community groups, is continuing to handle calls about dumping in the mountains, largely outside the radius of most households’ 2km or 5km movement limits.
Mayo County Council, which would have been familiar with dealing with rural fly-tipping, has in recent days issued a plea for people to stop discarding plastic gloves and masks on the streets in its towns. "There has been an increase in the number of latex gloves and face masks discarded on our streets. By not disposing of these correctly you may be helping to spread germs and Coronavirus, " the council said. It has also asked that people "avoid unnecessary clear outs at home".
Similar problems have been faced by local authorities from Cork to Donegal. In response, the Department of Climate Action and Environment has ringfenced €1 million from its ongoing anti-dumping fund to help local authorities combat the increase.
The money will be used not only for waste removal but installation of CCTV or other monitoring and surveillance equipment, Minister for Environment Richard Bruton said.
“I am extremely concerned with reports of an increase in illegal dumping during the Covid crisis. By providing local authorities with advance funding we will ensure they can respond quickly and decisively,” he said. “Illegal dumping is committed by a minority but is a scourge on local communities.”