February 27th, 2019
Cork City Council has started a long awaited clean-up operation of an illegal rubbish dump in the city.
The €53,000 operation to clean up the dump at Ellis’s Yard in Ballyvolane follows months of campaigning and protests by local residents.
For nearly two decades, a large volume of household rubbish, animal carcasses and abandoned cars have accumulated at the on the north side of Cork City.
Locals started a Facebook group called Ballyvolane Residents for a Clean Environment to put pressure on the Council to address the persistent problem.
Noreen Murphy, a local resident living beside the dump who shared a video of the clean-up on Facebook today, described the recent development as a “win” for locals.
Ms Murphy said the victory would have not been achieved without intense campaigning and media coverage of the issue. Ms Murphy thanked journalists, local politicians and her neighbours for pressuring the Council into action.
Earlier this month, MEP Luke Flanagan wrote to the European Commission asking if delays to the clean-up of the dump amounted to a breach of EU environmental and public safety standards. Mr Flanagan expressed concern about how close the open dump is to the homes of residents, a crèche and a soccer pitch used by children.
The council carried out a €500,000 large-scale clean-up operation at Ellis’s Yard between 2003 and 2004 yet illegal dumping continued even after the massive operation. Five years ago, another clean-up effort failed to address the persistent problem.
The rubbish dumped in Ellis’s Yard is often set on fire, with local residents expressing fear and concern over the nature of chemicals emissions from the burning waste.
Open dumps are known to impose significant risks to human health as well as the environment with air pollution being the primary cause for concern. Particulate matter arising from open dumps can aggravate humans’ airways, degrade lung function and worsen asthma
Dioxin contamination from burning rubbish is also a significant concern to humans’ health and the environment. Dioxin is a controversial substance most famously used in a toxic defoliant during the Vietnam War and is known to cause ailments as serious as cancer.