There’s no denying that the Covid-19 pandemic has had a major impact across the country in recent weeks, with the entire nation going into lockdown less than two weeks ago.
But there are a range of other issues that have followed in the wake of the virus and can’t be ignored - one of which is dumping.
Longford Tidy Towns highlighted the issue on Facebook at the weekend by posting a number of photographs which showed dozens of pairs of discarded plastic gloves littered along the footpaths of the town.
“Littering is criminal in normal times; during these times it is even worse. Discarded items can harbour disease such as Covid -19,” Tidy Towns volunteers stated on Facebook.
“Bear in mind that these items have to be lifted by our local authority staff and Tidy Towns volunteers. Bring home your waste and bear in mind that the entire resources of our little country have been put to the test in trying to contain this pandemic.”
And it’s not just discarded gloves that are becoming a growing issue around Llongford. While people are locked inside, there’s plenty of decluttering to be done, but numerous beauty spots across the county have become dumping grounds for household waste, children’s toys, mattresses and home appliances.
This unfortunate by-product of the Covid-19 virus has left a large number of people in the community feeling disappointed, disgusted and upset.
Local chef, Gary O’Hanlon took to Twitter last weekto highlight the dumping that was going on just down the road from his north Longford home, by people that he labelled “disgusting”, adding that the “constant” sight of rubbish “down a beautiful country lane saddens and angers in equal measure”.
Not too far away in Killasonna, Bridie Mallon has been wading through rubbish on her quiet country lane for more than three decades and says it’s only getting worse in recent weeks.
“I go for a walk and I come back in a temper,” she told the Longford Leader on Monday.
“I have reported them and have found receipts and I know they were warned, but it hasn’t stopped and I feel like I’m beating my head off the wall. It’s worse now than it ever was.”
Bridie believes the government should introduce a social charge where everyone has to pay for waste disposal.
“I think that everyone should have to pay for it and, if they do, they might respect other people a bit more. It’s quite demoralising,” she said.
Longford County Council has stressed that dumping will not be tolerated in the county and that anyone illegally dumping will be prosecuted.
“Illegal disposal of waste is an ongoing problem that is being dealt with by Longford County Council. Litter Wardens remain on duty during the Covid-19 crisis,” read a statement provided to this newspaper by the council this week.
“Prosecutions will be initiated against anyone found to be disposing of waste illegally, subject to the District Court’s timetable.
“Longford County Council bottle banks are operating as normal and information on opening hours for Mulleadys Civic Amenity Sites can be found at mulleadys.com.”
Anyone wishing to report an incident of illegal dumping can do so by telephone to Longford County Council at 043-334 3462 during office hours 9am t0 1pm, 2pm to 5pm or by leaving a message on 1850-434 450.
Alternatively, you can email your information to the council at environmental.complaints@ longfordcoco.ie.