There has been a “massive reduction” in the amount of fly tipping in the Wicklow Mountains, a local environment group has said.
The Pure (Protecting Uplands and Rural Environments) Project was set up in 2006 and links together the Department of the Environment, local councils and Coillte in their efforts to combat fly tipping.
Project manager Ian Davis describes it as a “unique” organisation that has had a significant impact on the landscape since it was set up.
“We have a truck that goes up in the mountains and collects illegal dumping and since 2006, we have collected 3,800 tons of illegal dumping,” he told The Pat Kenny Show.
Mr Davis said the group has collected “everything” since they were set up, from household waste, cables to furniture.
Community engagement is a core part of the group’s work and it is this that he credits with its remarkable impact.
“We are seeing a complete reversal of what it used to be like,” he said.
“In 2008, we removed 440 tons of illegal dumping in that one year.
“In 2022, last year, we removed 140 - that is a 68% reduction in the amount of illegal.
“So, that is positive and we are seeing a massive change.”
It is a trend not seen nationwide; Chris Moody of Save Bride Otters describes illegal dumping as a “very serious problem” down in Blackpool, Cork.
“Both opportunistic domestic of domestic waste - small bags of rubbish - and also the occasional fly tipping by it would appear to be trucks or vans,” he explained.
The local council does come to clean things up but Mr Moody feels it is still “disheartening” that such action is needed.
“Is there any other way we can deal with this?” he said.
“I’ve been cleaning the river since 2017… and I do think that community engagement is a very positive thing… But I wonder about enforcement?”
“Is there more we could be doing in that area?”
Main image: Fly tipping. Picture by: Alamy.com