The Green Party today called for the budget for tackling illegal waste disposal to be radically increased, following the shocking footage of illegal dumping uncovered by last night’s RTÉ Primetime Investigates programme.
The Greens were calling for the budget to tackle waste to be brought in line with Scotland, who spend €25 million euro annually, while Ireland spends just €4 million.
Speaking today, Green Party Spokesperson on Local Government, Councillor Malcolm Noonan, said: “What we saw on last night’s Primetime Investigates programme was shocking. It was nothing short of environmental treason.
The destruction of our natural environment in the manner we saw was awful – the consequences to the environment and human health will go on for decades.
“This is a complex problem, and needs a coordinated, well-resourced, well-supported response. The simplest thing the Government can do is to increase funding to the EPA. Scotland’s EPA has four times the staff and over five times the budget of Ireland’s EPA – let’s bring that in line.
“The Government must also get serious about reducing the amount of waste produced. The less waste we produce as a society, the less has to be dealt with and disposed of later on. Minister Naughten must drop his opposition to our Waste Reduction Bill.
“The process for investigating and bringing environmental criminals must be streamlined, and harsher penalties introduced. There are multiple agencies – Local Authorities, the EPA, the Gardaí, all involved. Unnecessary red tape must be removed to let them get on with their job.
“The Government must begin to reverse the privatisation of waste services. From a social, economic, and environmental point of view, it has been a disaster. Waste disposal doesn’t suit a market-led approach. Dodgy operators will always have the incentive to cut corners and undercut legitimate businesses.
Ireland must start to embrace the idea of a circular economy and combat the throwaway culture we currently see. Ireland is the largest producer of plastic waste in the EU.
“Finally, Ireland must start to embrace the idea of a circular economy and combat the throwaway culture we currently see. Ireland is the largest producer of plastic waste in the EU. In 2015, Ireland generated 282,148 tonnes of plastic packaging waste and just 34 per cent of that was recycled. This needs to change.
“We need to see strong action from the Government in response to this issue. Otherwise, it will continue to happen, and our beautiful, scenic landscape will be destroyed.
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