Illegal dumping has become a serious problem in Tonabrucky, but tackling it is proving difficult as the area has a lot of privately owned land and is also located between the city and county council boundaries.
Rubbish being illegally dumped along the side of the roads includes regular household waste, as well as cardboard boxes, cans, gas cylinders, a microwave, TVs, brooms, bottles, a sofa, and other furniture.
Claire-Louise Bennett, who lives in the Tonabrucky area, said illegal dumping has been going on for quite some time. She said locals feel little is being done to tackle the problem and that this is allowing those carrying out illegal dumping to continue their actions.
“There is a sign saying illegal dumping will result in a fine but it’s not acting as a deterrent,” she told the Galway Advertiser. “This is a systematised operation, occurring week after week. It’s very bad for the people living in Tonabrucky, for pets, the wildlife of the area, and the environment.”
Ms Bennett is calling on the local authorities to erect CCTV cameras so that those carrying out the illegal dumping can be identified and fined.
“CCTVs would act as a deterrent,” she said. “A clear message needs to be sent out that this particular mode of refuse disposal is completely unacceptable. There needs to be a change in people’s attitudes towards the environment. The environment is not separate from us, we’re part of it and illegal dumping affects the environment and the local community.”
Tonabrucky is located in the hinterland between the Galway City Council and Galway County Council areas, meaning each local authority has responsibility for parts of Tonabrucky, but not all of the region. There is also a lot of commonage land there which neither council has responsibility for. Legally, dumping on privately owned land is the responsibility of the landowner to deal with.
A spokesperson for the Galway City Council said it is “aware of ongoing problems with illegal dumping in the area”.
“It is an ongoing issue,” the spokesperson said. “As much as we can we try to cope with it but it is a sizeable area with a lot of commonage which makes it difficult to ascertain who owns the land. We cannot go into private property but we are aware of the issue through walkers, locals, and landowners.”
The spokesperson said: “Illegal dumping shows a lack of civic spirit and a lack of pride in the locality” and that in cases of city council owned land, Galway City Council community wardens “will go out to check the situation, will examine the material, and see if they can identify who is responsible for the dumping”.