Over 2,600 tonnes of illegal dumping removed from Wicklow/Dublin uplands

The PURE project, and environmental partnership project, the first of its kind in Ireland which incorporates statutory and non-statutory organisations, has had an extremely busy start to the 2016 year.

Since the truck started back on the road in early January it has already removed over 12 tonnes of illegal dumping. Commenting on the recent dumping incidents, Ian Davis, the manager of PURE stated,

‘We received a huge number of reports regarding illegal dumping since we started back. One incident alone filled the entire PURE truck and consisted of mattresses, beds, floor boards, couches, and a considerable amount of domestic waste, with close to 4 tonnes of household rubbish dumped at the site. We were notified about this site on Wednesday 13th January and the PURE Truck removed the dumping the following day, Thursday 14th January. We are again appealing to householders not to hand over their waste to unauthorised waste collectors and to check that they have a legitimate waste collection permit, because if they don’t have one, it will be dumped in the mountains and the householder is also responsible’.

Since the project began collecting illegal dumping, PURE has removed over 2,600 tonnes of rubbish from the landscape. In 2015 the project removed over 230 tonnes of illegal dumping with January being one of the busiest months of that year with over 25 tonnes collected.

‘The PURE Truck collected over 1000 sites in 2015 and over 600 of these were located in Wicklow. We record all incidents of dumping on a GPS/GIS database system and also photograph every site we come across. From this we have built up a baseline data on dumping patterns, date, location, type of waste and the amount rubbish dumped at each site, and the post-Christmas period can be one of the busiest for the project’.
If you were to put all the rubbish that PURE has collected into standard household rubbish bags you would fill over 370,000 bags. If you lined up each of these bags they would stretch the same distance as a journey from Glendalough to Dingle in County Kerry.

Since starting back after the Christmas period the project has also received calls relating to dead animals, horses, deer, and most recently a dead dog dumped in the uplands.

‘Any report we receive relating to dead animals we pass on the relevant land owner, which can be Coillte, Wicklow County Council, The Wicklow Mountains National Park or on occasion, private landowners. We have been working with these organisations for close to 10 years now and they have always supported us and they insure that they remove all incidents promptly’.

PURE believe that the fast removal of illegal dumping/fly-tipping from the landscape reduces further dumping at a site. If it’s left on the landscape some people believe that it is acceptable to dump there – dumping attracts dumping. The project work with a number of organisations and stakeholders, including Wicklow County Council, Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council, South Dublin County Council, Coillte, National Parks & Wildlife Service, and the Wicklow Uplands Council.

‘Prior to the removal of dumping all incidents are investigated by the relevant local authority Environmental Enforcement Officers and in 2015 Wicklow County Council had a number of successful prosecutions in the courts. In some cases offenders were fined over €3,000 and they were also made pay for the local authority legal fees, which was over €2,000. After speaking with officials from Wicklow County Council regarding the recent dumping incidents I believe a number of these will also end up in court and hopefully the offender(s) will also be prosecuted for their actions’.

Having officially launched in September 2006 this is the 10th year of PURE and the project will be continuing the successful community initiative The PURE Mile. The PURE Mile Competition encourages communities in Wicklow to keep a mile stretch of road (approx. 1.6 km), and the immediate environment litter/rubbish free. Many of the groups, communities and people living on the miles, take part in regular litter picks and cleanups, research information about their local wild flowers, plants, trees, animals, built heritage, history and the folklore associated with their areas. The competition has development into a very important part of conserving our regional and national environmental heritage.

PURE are still accepting applications for the 2016 PURE Mile competition and any rural area in Wicklow interested can request an application form and information pack by emailing info@pureproject.ie or it can be downloaded from www.pureproject.ie/the-pure-mile. You can also write to; PURE Project, Wicklow Mountains, National Park, Kilafin, Laragh, Bray, Co. Wicklow and they will post out all the information or request an application form and information pack by phoning PURE on 0404 45547.

The project is due to finish at the end of this year but PURE are optimistic that they will receive further funding from The Department of Environment Community and Local Government to continue the fight against illegal dumping in the Wicklow/Dublin Uplands.

Further information on PURE can be found on www.pureproject.ie

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