Minister praises Irish record and looks to future at opening of show

Achieving sustainable waste management is still a "universal challenge", Irish Minister Dick Roche, TD, confirmed at the opening of the IWWE and IRWM environmental exhibition in Dublin this week.

The Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government also emphasised the need for a more comprehensive policy framework in order to take waste issues across a whole new spectrum of industries and business.

He told delegates that industry was now beginning to show a real sense of responsibility towards waste issues, and that the positive difference brought about by waste policies recently put in place could now be seen clearly.

Government figures showed the results of recent campaigns, with 560,000 households in Ireland now being provided with a kerbside recycling service.

However, despite the government’s recent successes, there was still a pressing need to address recovery and disposal issues, as well as improve waste prevention and minimisation.

“We can’t wish the waste away and hope it disappears by magic. We need a pragmatic approach that is both ambitious and realistic,” Mr Roche stated.

He also insisted that the Department of the Environment would not tolerate illegal activities that had a negative impact on the environment, but that the overall picture for Ireland’s environment was currently a good one.

“There is no room in Ireland for illegal dumping and landfill activities, and those responsible will be brought to justice,” he said. “But there is also a positive story behind all this.”

Mr Roche pointed out that waste management standards in Ireland had improved drastically over the last couple of years, and were now coming in line with some of the most environmentally efficient countries in the EU.

“I believe that people are willing to change their ways, and that the great political demand for recycling has captured the Irish public’s imagination,” he added.

The IWWE and IWRM exhibition was held at the RDS exhibition hall in Dublin this week, attracting hundreds of exhibitors from the water, waste, recycling and environmental sectors from all over Europe.

By Jane Kettle

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