Donegal County Council has claimed it is making steadyprogress throughout the county in the fight against those who continue to dump waste illegally.
Figures indicate dumping is down 40% on last year.
Suzanne Tinney Waste Awareness Officer with the Council has said that “although we are disappointed at the level of illegal dumping taking place at a time when we are working hard to promote Donegal as tourist destination, we are confident that by working with the community, we can tackle this issue to achieve a greener and cleaner county for everyone in Donegal including residents and visitors.
“Dumping can range from discarding waste boxes or bags at a bottle bank site to larger scale dumping at more remote sites.
“These sites require perseverance and continued surveillance but I am confident that the Council is making in-roads and we will be continuing this approach with vigour over the coming months”.
Ms. Tinney added “We are aware of areas where illegal dumping has become more prevalent and we will continue to target these areas”.
Given the remote nature of some of the sites used for illegal dumping, Donegal County Council has invested in various surveillance equipment in recent years for use throughout the county.
Ms. Tinney stated that “this investment includes a number of ‘trail’ cameras or covert cameras activated by infra red sensors, together with Road-Hawk Vehicle Digital Cameras. Others include high spec long range cameras which are acquired for surveillance on illegal activities involving waste management issues and these have proven to be very useful”.
In 2012 Donegal County Council issued 173 fines or fixed penalty notices under the Litter Pollution Act 1997, up from 124 fines in 2011. The increase in the number of fines issued in 2012 is due partly to the increased level of resources invested by the Council in particular areas of the county.
Ms. Tinney stated that “where fines are not paid the Council will be continuing to initiate prosecutions through the court”. She added “under the Waste Management Act 1996 there were 7 cases before the courts in 2011 and 7 before the courts in 2012. This Council takes these issues very seriously and every effort will be made to combat all forms of illegal dumping”.
In total there were 63 fines issued by Donegal Co. Council in Inishowen during 2011 and 2012, which was just about the highest for any area over the period
In 2012 Donegal County Council spent in the region of €410,900 in cleaning up illegal dumping sites in Donegal and this was down from the 2011 figure of €428,800.
Almost 60k. of this was incurred in Inishowen. Ms. Tinney stated that “this decrease in expenditure reflects a combination of things including the impact of the surveillance and enforcement measures that we have in place along with the support of the local community in addressing these issues”.
Ms. Tinney paid tribute to the work of the Litter Wardens and Environment staff and added that she could not stress enough the importance of the excellent support of local community groups throughout the county in clean up campaigns such as the National Spring Clean campaign
“These types of initiatives are great and I am always heartened by the great work that is done in Donegal.”
The public can contact the Council to report illegal dumping by calling the Customer Contact Centre on 07491 53900.