The Kerry region, a jewel in the crown of Irish tourism, will be "devastated" by littering following the closure of a landfill site, it has been claimed.
The county council closed its Muingnaminnane landfill site, outside Tralee, on July 11, but a number of waste transfer stations in the county will continue in operation.
The decision to shut the facility was taken due to an increasing amount of waste being exported from the country. The demand for waste from energy-generating incinerators in other EU countries is reducing landfill space in Ireland.
However, a number of council members have voiced concerns about the impact of the closure on the local environment.
South Kerry Independent Alliance councillor Michael Gleeson, said if transfer stations were not made available to people, parts of the county would be devastated by littering.
“Something urgently needs to be done to provide waste facilities for people in some areas,” he stated.
Cllr Johnny Healy-Rae (Ind) warned the cost of waste disposal through private contracts will increase and claimed it would cost the council more to dispose of rubbish outside the county than it would to keep the landfill open.
Cllr Bobby O’Connell (FG) said while the landfill was a model for the remainder of the country in the way it was managed, many local residents who had been inconvenienced by it were “not sorry to see it closed”.
Council chairman John Brassil asked engineers to look into the impact of the closure and examine the possibility of introducing a tag system for waste collection at temporary collection stations.
“The more places available to people to get rid of rubbish, the cleaner the county will be,” he said.
Director of services John Breen, said the council had a contract for the disposal of waste at transfer stations which would remain open.
He dismissed suggestions that the landfill closure had been unfortunate and stated it had been “planned, managed, and agreed”.