Illegal dumping continues to blight back roads around Gort – with Kinincha and the Pound Road just some of the areas constantly under a blanket of discarded waste of every description.
Galway County Councillor, Gerry Finnerty, said that while efforts over a number of years have seen the town centre become virtually litter-free, areas with less footfall continue to battle with professional illegal dumpers.
“Our town has been clean and tidy now for about 20 or 30 years but there are areas that have become black spots, like the railway line and Kinincha, because they are on quiet roads.
“There is an illegal operator in the area going to certain houses and taking away rubbish – he’s taking it from rental accommodation, social houses and from some foreign nationals who may not understand that he’s dumping it illegally,” said Cllr Finnerty.
According to the Fianna Fáil councillor, the individual in question is widely known by residents in the area but, as of yet, nobody is willing to identify him to the Council or to Gardaí.
“I have spoken to a number of the residents that I would know and warned them about the dangers of paying this individual to take away their rubbish but none of them are prepared to identify him,” he added.
As a member of Galway County Council’s Strategic Policy Committee on environment, Cllr Finnerty said he has called for a tougher stance on those enabling this type of activity.
“I have put down a motion that when we are paying rent supplement or when you are a tenant in a council house, you should have to prove that you have a contract with a reputable waste collector.
“This is happening everywhere – I was in Knock, County Clare, and I spotted a mattress dumped and I was talking to one of the council workers over the border and they cover an area from the Doolin coast to Ennis – he said there is more rubbish in that area than any other part of the county.
“He said that a lot of that is coming from the Gort area,” said Cllr Finnerty.
The situation at Kinincha is particularly dire and locals are often subjected to people dumping everything from tyres to household waste – something that creates a haven for vermin.
“There are two, if not three, spots where there is regularly the illegal burning of rubbish – there could be a fire there on a weekly basis.
“When a lot of what’s dumped is household and food waste, we all know what that attracts – it is disgusting what is going on,” said Cllr Finnerty.
Part of the problem is the excess amount of waste being generated and Cllr Finnerty believed retailers had a role in tackling some of the problems – in particular with coffee cups, plastic packaging and multiples of receipts for even the smallest purchase.
“Education is one part of the solution – people are not educated in the consequences of waste; we have to start reducing the amount of waste we’re generating.
“The plastic that’s being dumped causes huge harm to the area and could be part of the problem with drainage which leads to flooding – we are producing a huge amount of waste plastic,” he said.