Illegal dumping in forests owned by Coillte – much of which is free to recycle – has cost the company €2 million over the last five years.
Washing machines, fridge freezers, household waste, tyres, beds and sofas are the most common illegally dumped items, the company has said.
“Illegal dumping and fly tipping remain a serious issue for the nation’s forests,” said Mick Power, Coillte’s national estates manager.
“The vast majority of visitors are respectful and bring all their litter home, which Coillte and staff on the ground appreciate enormously.”
Cost to Coillte
However, there is a minority who use these public forests and other scenic areas as their own dumping ground.
“Some of the rubbish is foul smelling, attracts vermin and is a health-and-safety hazard for families, their children and their dogs,” said Mick.
Coillte has spent almost €2 million to remove illegally dumped waste from its forests over the past five years.
This material is often discarded at forest entrances or along the forest boundaries, which makes it unsightly and unsanitary for visitors.
Illegal dumping causes serious environmental problems including damage to habitats and biodiversity and polluting soils, rivers and drinking waters.
Coillte says it takes the issue of illegal dumping extremely seriously and works closely with Gardaí and local authorities to ensure offenders are prosecuted.
CCTV increased in Coillte forests
In known blackspot areas, Coillte has increased its surveillance by deploying remote cameras to monitor illegal dumping activity and to help seek prosecutions.
Coillte is encouraging the public to report all instances of illegal dumping to the relevant local authorities immediately, or contact Coillte directly via its confidential forest security hotline on 1890 800 455.
Coillte also operates a ‘Love this place, Leave no trace’ litter policy.
“We continue to welcome people to Coillte forests knowing they provide a much-needed physical and mental boost for so many during Covid-19.
“But we ask all visitors to the forests to bring home any litter with them – just like you were never there. That way, the forests remain beautiful for everyone,“ said Mick.
Most common items
The most common illegally dumped items in the nation’s forests over the past year include:
- Washing machines/fridge freezers – these are almost always free to recycle at your local bring-centre;
- Household waste including black sacks, sometimes with food, nappies, cans and bottles – the latter two can be recycled at no cost;
- Beds and sofas, household furniture;
- Building rubble such as old bricks, wooden planks and soil.