Members of the public are being enlisted in the fight against the destruction of one of the North's best-loved beauty spots.
Fly tipping has been on the increase along the coastline in the Ards Peninsula, with domestic and household waste being dumped in a region which has been designated an area of special scientific interest.
Although Ards Borough Council has succeeded in securing more than 100 prosecutions for fly tipping over the past two years, it is urging members of the public to turn in anyone they observe dumping waste illegally during 2006.
Borough inspector Richard Brittain condemned those behind the dumping.
“This illegal dumping is not only selfish and anti-social and spoils the landscape but poses a serious threat to the health of wildlife,” he explained.
“A minority of people have been going to secluded beaches and car parks to dump waste. We tend to find a lot of household waste being dumped there but there is also industrial waste from the seafood industry, from builders and retailers.
“But it has to be said that the vast majority of people are responsible and do use the civic amenity sites that the council has provided.
“Nevertheless we are reminding the public we need their help to combat this problem and that there are also hefty fines for this kind of activity. They can face fines of up to £2,500 (€3,646).”
Ards Council has identified illegal dumping hotspots which are being monitored by the borough inspector’s team to discourage potential fly-tippers.
Council staff also have a number of ways to identify the owners of rubbish or where it has originated.
Members of the public who witness an illegal dumping have been advised by the council not to approach the person concerned but to note the time, date and location and write down the licence plates of any vehicles involved and a description of the person involved before contacting them.
“Many of the people who dump waste along the coastline are just being lazy,” Mr Brittain said.
“We want to eradicate this problem and we would like members of the public who witness this activity to report it immediately to our office.”