Friday, 12 June 2009

Illegal dumps and Gombeenimbyism

It really is a nation of gombeenimbyists. In case you're wondering, that's a synthesis of gombeen and N.I.M.B.Y (Not In My Back Yard).

We've a chronic waste disposal crisis in Ireland. Years of planning objections mean it's practially impossible to build an incinerator - no matter how remote the location - and we are running out of landfills (if you exclude our beaches on a hot summer afternoon).

So what do we do? Dump illegally. Or, more accurately, some shyster with a truck and a trailer will do it for you. Witness the craze for illegal dumps in Wicklow some years back, which were crammed with hospital waste and God know's what else. But of course you can only have so many illegal dumps. So what then? Dump it over the border, of course!

According to RTE News the taxpayer will have to pay at least €3 million to clean up 20 illegal dumps in Northern Ireland, containing waste from the Republic. In fact, the bill could be far higher as it will include 80% of the costs of extracting the waste from the sites, and then making them presentable again, so more speculative estimates put the cost in tens of millions. So what will we do with it then, I wonder?

Sadly, it seems to be a very Irish trait: ignore reality long enough and hope it might go away. It's time for us to accept we have to take responsibility for our own rubbish disposal, whatever that may entail.

Even if it upsets a few nimbies.

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Denis said...

Well what do you expect in a country that won't lift their dogs' crap?
Here in Strandhill, Sligo, you can't go 5 yards without spotting (if
you're lucky) a mound of crap. Actually, never mind crap, they won't
even walk to the bin to put a lollipop wrapper in it so who am I trying
to kid? Still, only 3 weeks until I vote with my feet (because I like
keeping them clean) and move north of the border!

The Wanderer said...

You may have heard of famous Bantry Bay – the most infamous illegal seaside dump in the country. Although the responsible mussel farmers started to clean-up the big mess it will take many years of proper working practice and of tyding up to save the bay for humans and animals.

The Gombeen Man said...

Good luck with the move Denis. Hopefully you won't have to pay so much attention to the footpaths. Keep an eye for multicoloured kerbstones of either persuasion though!

Hi Wanderer. Yes, I was once out on Bantry Bay in a sailing boat doing a course, would you believe, and got the full low down on Bantry Bay mussels from my instructor. Let's just say they have never been on the menu since!!!