Two years of hard work by the students of Drumeela National School have been left in the balance because of the behaviour of some 'disgusting individuals'
Students at the school had been working hard to achieve a coveted Green Flag, reducing waste and meeting targets, however in recent months unknown individuals have been illegally disposing of their rubbish in the school bins.
Raising the issue at the Ballinamore Municipal District meeting, Cllr John McCartin said the school had reduced its refuse to just 4kg per week.
“However, according to the weight collection company analysis, the weight of the bin (put out by the school) regularly jumps up to 51kg a week - an increase of 500%,” he pointed out.
The jump is because people are waiting until the school bins have been put out and then using them to dump their own household rubbish.
“This jeopardises two years of efforts by the children under the Green Flag Programme,” said Cllr McCartin.
“This is disgusting behaviour by disgusting individuals.”
Cllr McCartin has asked that Leitrim and Cavan County Councils work together to conduct surveillance of this area and to identify those responsible for illegally dumping.
He noted this is not just confined to illegal dumping in the school bins but added that there is a “chronic” litter problem in the Drumeela-Doogary area.
“Rubbish is permanently strewn along 2km of the road (LP-1534) and, in some cases, sacks of rubbish, furniture and kitchen appliances are left right on the road edge,” he added.
In a written response, the Director of Services, Economic Development, Planning, Environment and Transportation, Joseph Gilhooly, said the Council has made an application for a funding initiative to counteract illegal dumping and fly tipping.
“As part of this proposal it is planned to implement a mobile CCTV surveillance campaign to monitor a number of black spots in the county on a rolling basis. This will hopefully result in identification of the offenders and the council can then follow through via the Litter Management Act, and in any event it should act as a deterrent to the ongoing problem of fly-tipping,” noted Mr Gilhooly.
“If we are successful with the funding application, this area in Drumeela can be considered for one of the Black Spot locations. A survey of households in the area can also be carried out in order to establish proof of their method of disposal of refuse.”
Cllr Brendan Barry backed McCartin's call for more surveillance of this area adding that this problem was costly for all parts of the community from schools such as Drumeela to landowners who have to finance the removal of illegally dumped rubbish.
Head of Finance at Leitrim County Council, Vincent Dwyer said the illegal dumping in the bins at Drumeela NS was 'horrendous' and acknowledged that dumping in this area wasn't occasional, “it's endemic”.
He urged people to report any suspicious people or vehicles immediately to Leitrim County Council's hotline on (1890) 205205.
Cllr Caillian Ellis said that people were often reluctant to report such incidents but Cllr McCartin suggested that people could do so anonymously.
“At least it would point the Council in the right direction of who to observe and who to follow for proof of just how they are disposing of their rubbish in future,” he said.