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*Karen Foley

Members of the public have been advised to return to bottle banks if they are full rather than leaving items on the ground.

The role of the Environment Section of Clare County Council is to improve, preserve and enhance the environment in the interests of present and future generations, tells Environmental Awareness Officer Karen Foley.

During 2020 all teams worked throughout COVID 19 restrictions to ensure that all environmental services were delivered in full. The Waste Enforcement Team dealt with 2675 complaints, including 1136 of these relating to illegal dumping and litter complaints; with 82 relating to dog fouling.

Numerous incidences of dumping of bulky waste occurred across the county, with clean ups being supported by the relevant Clare County Council Municipal District crews. €90,000 was received in grant funding under the Anti-dumping initiative from the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment.

“This grant also funded a free household hazardous waste collection day which took place in October. The event elicited a huge response with over 300 householders availing of the opportunity to do so. Large quantities of paint, ink, empty oil cans, detergents, medicines, pesticides, aerosols, oil filters, vegetable oil, and mixed fuels were collected by the hazardous waste disposal company, Enva,” Karen informs.

Recycling Centres and Waste Transfer stations at Shannon, Ennis, Central Waste Management Facility (Inagh), Lisdeen and Scariff continued to operate throughout the COVD 19 restrictions. Fifty bring banks in total were presided over by the Waste Management Team throughout this period. Karen states, “This time of year, our bottle banks can get full very quickly. We would like to remind people to call back another time or go to another bottle bank if the nearest one is full. We would like to reassure people that we are monitoring the banks on the ground over this busy period.”

During 2020, the Laboratory and Technical Support team collected and analysed over 1,700 samples at the Environmental Laboratory located at Aras Contae and Chláir. The samples collected included bathing water, rivers, lakes, drinking water, wastewater samples. Karen remarks that 146 complaints were investigated as required under the National Inspection Programme of Domestic Wastewater Treatment Systems.

In relation to water safety, she opines, “We were delighted to achieve nine Blue Flags and four Green Coast awards for Clare beaches during 2020. We continued to provide lifeguards at all designated bathing areas during the bathing water season. Our Waste Enforcement Team also patrolled the beaches in Co. Clare throughout the summer months to monitor compliance with the Beach Bye Laws.”

A Waste Awareness Week took place for the first time to provide information and tips that can help the public reduce its waste production. It took place from 16th to 20th November 2020. This week was a five-day virtual event organised by Clare County Council, in association with the Southern Regional Waste Management Planning Office, to highlight the role of the county’s five civic amenity facilities, inform citizens on what they can do to correctly dispose of their waste and provide up-to-date information on reusing, reducing and recycling.

Karen concludes by affirming the importance of The Clare Echo’s Green Clare page, “Throughout 2020 our Greener Clare team were delighted to support the Clare Echo Green Page. The Clare Echo journeyed with us throughout the year supporting and covering all campaigns both national, regional and local while at the same time highlighting fantastic community led initiatives throughout the county”.

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