The above image of illegal dumping at an unfinished industrial estate in Ballina, Co Mayo, is one of many sent recently to The Irish Times Report Illegal Dumping campaign.
Since the campaign started last October we have received more than 230 alerts about incidents of illegal dumping in 16 counties, ranging from drive-by dumping in Dublin to builders’ rubble in scenic mountainous areas in Co Cork.
But there have also been the success stories, such as the regular clean-ups organised by groups such as the Dodder Action group in Dublin and the Mulcahy family from Lissarda, Co Cork.
Brothers Daniel (9) and Luke (8) sent out a letter to their friends and neighbours in the surrounding townlands of Lassarda, Inchirahilly, Shandangan and Gurranligh in early January calling on everyone to join them for a clean up of the area on a Saturday morning. There was a wonderful response with 28 adults and children turning out on the date in question to collect numerous bags of litter and illegally dumped items along the roads and hedgerows.
Mallow Area Council also helped by agreeing to dispose of all the rubbish collected. Such was the success of the day that the Mulcahys and friends are planning a further clean-up day during the National Spring Cleaning event in April.
The majority of the communications we receive are about the increase in illegal dumping around the country – in both urban and rural areas. The items dumped are not just household refuse – there are incidents of the aforementioned builders’ rubble, large furniture including sofas, bed frames and mattresses, old television sets and refrigerators along with children’s toys, prams and buggies and even the carcass of a dead deer (at the foothills of the Sugarloaf in Wicklow).
There is a sense of frustration in many of the communications because of the ongoing nature of much of the illegal dumping. Residents of a street in Dublin's inner city spoke of their despair at repeat offenders who – week in, week out – dropped bags of rubbish in the area. They spoke of the great efforts of Dublin City Council to halt the tide, but that every week the bags reappear.
Calls for CCTV in more areas are a regular suggestion and news of the drone campaign will no doubt be welcomed.