Illegal dumping at a number of sites in Kilkenny

 

Kilkenny County Council is to relaunch its post-Christmas recycling campaign after serious illegal dumping at a number of sites.

Recycling facilities to cater for waste generated over Christmas had to be shut down after large amounts of unsorted household and commercial waste were dumped at several. Unauthorised waste-collectors were involved in at least some of the dumping, the council believes.

The temporary facilities had been put in place in six locations to take waste including newsprint, cardboard and plastic bottles. Two of the sites were in Kilkenny city and the others in Thomastown, Callan, Newrath and Castlecomer.

At one of the city sites, John's Green, there was so much illegal waste that two trucks, a JCB and six council staff were required to remove it, and the county landfill at Dunmore had to be opened specially. Fridges, commercial waste oils and significant volumes of ordinary household waste were found at the site. Serious illegal dumping was also discovered at two of the other sites, "the Closh" at Gaol Road in the city and Callan, within days of them being opened.

The skips at all six temporary sites had been clearly marked for recyclable materials only, and nobody could have been under any illusion as what they were for, the council says. Its director of services, Mr Philip O'Neill, said it was disappointing that the facilities had been abused by "a small percentage of people". The illegal dumping would not be ignored and prosecutions would follow.

The council is ready to have another go at providing facilities for recyclable waste accumulated over Christmas and alternative plans are to be implemented from today. Ms Sadhbh O'Neill, the council's environmental education officer, said they were determined "not to let a minority who abused these facilities destroy them for everyone else".

"Apart from the incidents of dumping, the campaign has been tremendously successful, with widespread public participation. Already skips of newspaper, cardboard and magazines have been successfully collected for recycling," she said.

The sites at John's Green and "the Closh" in Kilkenny city, as well as that in Callan, have been closed but alternative facilities will be opened from today until January 21st. Two of these are in the city: the Corporation machinery yard on Gaol Road and the County Council machinery yard on Hebron Road.

The third new site, for paper and cardboard only, is beside the weighbridge at the Dunmore landfill. The three remaining original sites, at Castlecomer, Thomastown and Newrath, will also be open until January 21st. Limited opening hours - 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Saturday, and 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Sundays - will apply at the sites in Kilkenny city.

"We apologise to the public for the confusion caused but hope that we can tap into the huge public support for recycling that we have witnessed over the Christmas period," said Ms O'Neill.

The Christmas campaign was the latest in a series of initiatives which has brought a dramatic increase in waste recycling in Kilkenny in recent months.

The number of bring centres for bottles and cans has been more than doubled to 26 in the past two months alone.

The banning of recyclable commercial and industrial waste from Dunmore in September resulted in a 40 per cent reduction in such waste going to landfill. Other initiatives have included the provision of battery recycling boxes at 55 schools and the sale of more than 800 composters last year.

Householders have a responsibility to ensure their waste is disposed of legally. Any member of the public who wishes to check the legal status of a waste collector is asked to contact the environment section at 056-52699.