Ireland must tackle illegal waste scams, Minister says

Ireland needs a comprehensive programme to tackle growing problems caused by illegal waste activities such as fly tipping, Batt O'Keeffe, TD, stated earlier this week.

Speaking at a conference held by the Environmental Protection Society (EPA), Mr O’Keeffe, the Minister of State at the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, insisted that a fully thought out initiative was required to deal with these issues.

He added that he would like to see a particular focus on illegal waste exports – especially those being shipped to Northern Ireland.

“Mutual assistance and collective action from the relevant authorities – including the 34 local authorities, the EPA, the Office of Environmental Enforcement and the Northern Irish authorities is needed,” Mr O’Keeffe said. “It is both a political imperative and practical necessity.”

However, Mr O’Keeffe highlighted the progress made in dealing with Ireland’s waste over recent years. This included the recycling of municipal waste increasing by 8% since 2001, having met the EU 25% target for packaging waste recovery, and recycling or reusing around 65.5% of construction or demolition waste, thereby achieving the 50% target ahead of schedule.

But he said that the flipside of these successes was now the task of coping with increasing levels of unauthorised activities, which ranged from illegal dumps and landfill to the unauthorised movement of waste out of the country.

By Jane Kettle

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