THE economic downturn has coincided with an alarming rise in illegal dumping and illegal waste collection. And Laois County Council is urging the public to be wary of bogus door-to-door collectors.
Clean up’s cost the local authority €18,000 during 2011 and to date 133 litter fines have been issued under the Litter Pollution Act, with twelve District Court convictions secured and eighteen cases pending.
Cases have also been brought to court under the Waste Management Act.
Assistant Scientist with Laois County Council Waste Management Section Audrey Marshall outlined, “Be aware of persons carrying out leaflet drops into homes providing information of ‘free’ scrap metal collections or ‘waste disposal’ at reduced costs. This activity creates economic profit for the bogus collector and very often the waste collected is then illegally dumped in the bogs and forestry areas.”
The County Council Environment Section, with the assistance of the Gardaí, have carried out a number of road checkpoints where vehicles are inspected to ensure any person carrying waste is authorised and holds a valid waste collection permit.
“This appears to have reduced the movement of unauthorised scrap metal across Laois,” explained Ms Marshall.
Laois County Council is also working with waste enforcement personnel from neighbouring local authorities in an attempt to foil the activities of the bogus collectors.
According to Ms Marshall the environmental implications of illegal dumping ‘are significant’.
She outlined, “Dumped waste can leak contaminates into soil and groundwater. Illegal dumped waste can impact on the proper drainage of run-off, making areas more prone to flooding. When illegal dumping takes place, the aesthetic value of the area is also diminished. Rodents, insects and other vermin are also attracted to illegal dumped waste which may cause health risks.”
Increased dumping has occurred in areas such as Rossmore, Derrybeg Bog ,Mountrath, Lower Forest, Mountmellick and in areas along the Kildare Border namely Vicarstown and Barrowhouse. Laois County Council has taken measures in erecting security barriers in Derrybeg Bog and also Lower Forest in Mountmellick.
Due to continuous damage to the security Barrier in Derrybeg Bog, the Council restricted all access by placing large concrete block at the gate entrance during non-turf cutting season.
While this latest move to warn the public of the menace that is bogus collectors was prompted by the delivery of a business card by an illegal scrap metal dealer into people’s letter boxes in Portlaoise, Ms Marshall said the problem is a county wide one.
She added, “If evidence from a householder or business proprietor is discovered in illegally dumped waste, a fine or legal action is issued to them as they are the responsible person. This is why it is imperative that people ensure that they use an authorised waste collector by asking for their waste collection permit number. If they are in doubt they should contact the Environment Section, Laois County Council at 057 86 64000.”