Northern Ireland facing huge costs as tonnes of illegal waste dumped – Investigative Journalists have published a report that highlights a huge problem that Northern Ireland face with regards to fly-tipping and dumping of illegal waste.
The report details how the costs to clean up the areas involved could amount to over £22.3 million.
Apparently, the counties of Down and Antrim have the biggest problem with illegal dumping.
The problem is so widespread and critical that Friends of the Earth Director, James Orr, has warned that action needs to be taken by the government now or else Northern Ireland could be facing bankruptcy.
He says, “To clean up these (illegal) sites could potentially bankrupt Northern Ireland, but not cleaning up these sites leaves a toxic legacy.”
Researchers from TheDetail.tv found that during 2014 and 2015, a total of 6,000 separate incidents of fly tipping were recorded in Northern Ireland.
They also found that between the years 2006 and 2015 that more than 7,240,000 tonnes of waste were dumped across the country.
In the report, the investigators show where each dumping ground was located. There were 66 sites in total, with one of them even being a playing field.
The largest discovery made was in Ballymoney in 2007, where the amount of illegal waste dumped came to 56,741 tonnes. This amount of waste would have cost the local council almost £3 million to clean up.
Also, asbestos waste was discovered in 2011 at the old Ulster Weavers site on Donegall Street in Belfast. It cost an estimated £1 million to clear that site.
Mr Orr highlighted a waterway in Londonderry on the banks of the River Faughan, where illegal waste has been dumped. This waterway provides around 60% of the city’s residents with drinking water.
He said, “Tax evasion runs into hundreds of millions of pounds and there is a big impact on public health also,” said Mr Orr. “If we look at the leachate which runs into the River Faughan from an illegal dump thought to contain over 1.5m tonnes of waste, that is extremely worrying.”
“When we consider that many of these illegal dumping sites are covered in soil, and then we have animals grazing on them, there is a major risk to public health.”
“Government really needs to get a handle on this. The fines imposed for this type of activity are meaningless and we have many millionaires who are profiting from it.”
“Consider that two years ago, the Government asked for a public inquiry into illegal dumping across Northern Ireland, something which received cross party support, and so far nothing has happened, it is scandalous.”
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