Action plan needed against post-Christmas dumping surge

Local authorities must develop plans to address the annual increase in countryside dumping that takes place post-Christmas, a farm-lobby group’s environmental chairman has pointed out.

The Irish Farmer’s Association’s (IFA’s) environmental chairman, Thomas Cooney, has called for action to prevent people recklessly dumping cans, bottles and wrapping from Christmas gifts.

Commenting on the upcoming spike in illegal dumping levels, Cooney said: “Recent reports indicate that packaging waste generated from online shopping will increase by 33% this year to 10,000t and that households are going to spend nearly €2,700 this Christmas.

Previous experience shows that this will lead to increased dumping by people who have no regard for our rural countryside and it’s time to get tough with these people.

He outlined that the IFA is calling for tougher sanctions on people who participate in illegal dumping.

“We are also seeking changes to legislation to ensure farmers are no longer held legally responsible for the reckless dumping of others.”

Continuing, Cooney said: “The on-the-spot fines for littering introduced this year have not worked. We need increased enforcement and action by local authorities and as well as tougher sentences and penalties for people who illegally dump waste on farmers’ lands.

Local authorities must now begin planning their post-Christmas anti-littering blitz, to ensure Ireland’s countryside is no longer used as a dumping ground.

In a recent meeting with Minister of State for Natural Resources, Community Affairs and Digital Development, Sean Canney, the IFA called for the removal of the current threat of fines and prosecution of farmers that are victims of illegal dumping.