A LARGE proportion of complaints against landfills related to odours emanating from the site, an Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) report has found.
Last year, 613 complaints were made about a Cavan County Council landfill at Corranure, while 311 were lodged against Greenstar Holding for its Knockharley landfill in Co Meath.
The EPA was contacted on 308 occasions about the Kerdiffstown landfill, operated by Neiphin Trading, while Cork County Council’s Youghal dump was the subject of 90 complaints.
In total, 1,568 complaints were made about landfills last year compared with 94 in 2004 – a tenfold increase. Of these complaints, 71% related to foul smells.
In its Focus on Landfilling in Ireland report published yesterday, the EPA said it has dedicated “significant resources to regulating odour from landfill, including assessments, inspections and audits” and it will “continue to prioritise it”.
However, despite the hike in complaints, just seven successful prosecutions were taken by the EPA in the past five years with three files sent to the DPP last year.
Last year, prosecutions were taken against Dublin County Council for their Arthurstown dump and against Greenstar for their east Galway landfill.
In 2000, 90% of household and commercial waste was landfilled and this figure has fallen to 62.5% by 2008. While incinerator construction is in train, the EPA says this country is “predominately reliant” on landfill.
Private investment has increased in the past 10 years and now the private sector own a third of landfills.
However, while the amount of waste going to landfill is falling due to increased recycling, recovery and the recession, almost 1.2 million tones of waste was landfilled in 2008.
If this country is to meet its obligations under the EU Landfill Directive, this will have to drop to 0.61 million tonnes by 2013 and to 0.427 million tonnes in 2016.
According to the report, diversion away from landfill will need landfill operators to “gain an understanding of and control the biodegradeable content of waste, the provision of capacity for treatment of Biodegradeable Municipal Waste (BMW) and priority enforcement”.
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