March 8th, 2019
Cork City Council has secured the site of an illegal rubbish dump on the North side of the city as part of a €53,000 clean-up operation that residents say is long overdue.
The new “24-hour security” measures is set to deter further dumping at the site in Ellis’s Yard, Ballyvolane.
Noreen Murphy, a local resident who lives beside the dump and has campaigned for its clean-up, welcomed the move and that the Council is “finally doing their job”.
“The air is clean and if the Council maintain their property, no child in Ballyvolane will ever again be exposed to carcinogenic particles and smoke,” Ms Murphy said.
Ms Murphy, a key figure in the locals’ fight to clean the open site, had previously described the clean-up operation as a “victory” that would have not been achieved without intense campaigning and media coverage of the issue.
For nearly two decades, a large volume of household rubbish, animal carcasses and abandoned cars had accumulated at the open dump in Ballyvolane.
Contractors have now removed 200 tonnes of waste, including exposed asbestos, dumped at the site over the span of the last 12 months.
Earlier this week a caravan full of rubbish was found on the dumpsite after it was cleaned-up late last month. The new dumping caused fresh concerns among locals, leading residents to call on the Council to promptly secure the site with fences and CCTV to deter further dumping.
Locals had previously started a Facebook group called Ballyvolane Residents for a Clean Environment to put pressure on the Council to address the persistent problem.
Earlier this month, MEP Luke Flanagan also 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 rubbish dumped in Ellis’s Yard was often set on fire, with local residents expressing fear and concern over the nature of chemicals emissions from the burning.
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.