The issue of illegal dumping has been raised with me during the election campaign.
As far as I am concerned illegal dumping across our countryside, roads and rivers is both environmental and economic treason and must be treated as such.
During my term as Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment I introduced the anti dumping initiative and to date approximate €5m has been drawn down by communities & local authorities across Ireland.
I provided funding for drones, CCTV cameras and for community clean-up operations.
As a result a wide range of clean-up and restorative projects led by community, environmental and sporting groups were provided with funding. But it was not just supporting clean ups but funds were also provided to subsequentlty maintain the areas by equipping authorities with the latest enforcement technologies including overt and covert surveillance equipment and drone technology to target dumpers.
The type of projects funded included:
• clean-up operations – removing illegal waste from across the country;
• household bulky waste initiatives – mattress/couch amnesties;
• awareness campaigns – social media campaigns & radio;
• preventative measures – installation of signage and fencing;
• surveillance operations – CCTV, drone and trail surveillance;
• SMART enforcement equipment and resources for waste enforcement officers
• removal of tyre stockpiles across the country
• tyre collections for farmers who no longer use pit silage
Since it’s inception I expanded the anti dumping initiative to tackle and address the source of illegal dumping through an Eircodes investigation by creating and maintaining a register of how households are managing their waste in order to facilitate the process of trying to deal with illegal dumping. Secondly there has been a clamp down on illegal collectors of waste, many of whom have been involved in fly tipping. And I hope that we will see some successful prosecutions in the coming months.
These measures have been successful in reducing the problem but more funding now needs to be provided enhance these measures.
Finally, as Minister I was in the process of increasing the on the spot fines under the Litter Pollution Acts from the current fine of €150 to €250 and if I am returned to Dáil Éireann I intend to push this change in the current legislation.