Last month the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a report that shows Irish air quality is among the best in Europe. “Air Quality In Ireland 2011” highlighted that air quality is generally of a high standard across Ireland and as Halloween approaches the EPA is asking households and businesses in Co Leitrim to help maintain these high standards and not to damage the air in their towns and villages during their Halloween celebrations.
EPA Scientific Officer Micheál O Dwyer says “To keep air clean in Co Leitrim the EPA is asking people not to use bonfires to dispose of household or hazardous waste. Old car tyres are a particular favourite for Halloween bonfires but burning tyres and other waste materials can be dangerous for human health. Waste burning or ‘backyard burning’ and bonfires are a source of potent atmospheric pollutants that are hazardous to people’s health and damaging to the environment.”
The EPA wants everyone in Leitrim to enjoy a safe and happy Halloween so it is a real shame when some people use this festive time as an excuse to dispose of waste illegally. The EPA’s National Waste Report 2010 estimated that one in three Irish households did not avail of, or were not offered a kerbside waste collection service which increases the likelihood of people using illegal methods of burning waste. So while many people may be gathering material for a local bonfire the EPA want to remind them that only someone carrying a Waste Collection Permit is allowed to stockpile waste. Many people may not be aware that breaches of waste regulations could lead to fines of up to €3,000.
To cut down on food waste from Halloween why not check out the Stop Food Waste website www.stopfoodwaste.ie and find some Luscious Leftover recipes for pumpkins!
Backyard burning and unauthorised bonfires should be reported to the local authority or the new lo-call National Environmental Complaints Line: 1850 365 121.
The EPA report “Air Quality in Ireland 2011: Key Indicators of Ambient Air Quality” can be downloaded at http://www.epa.ie/downloads/pubs/air/quality/name,33862,en.html