Two men who claimed to be waste collectors on social networks but were actually burning rubbish on rural land near Tipperary-Waterford border have been criticized by a local authority.
Waterford City and County Council brought a prosecution. The duo were fined 1,000 and must pay 1,500 costs each for illegally collecting and burning waste under the Waste Management Act 1996.
Both waste collectors were sentenced for four months in prison, with a suspended sentence of 18 months.
Judge OShea, who sentencing the offence, described it as abhorrent, and said that if the guilty plea was not mitigated, the offence would have merited an immediate custodial sentence.
The illegal waste activity was first reported by Clonmel in July 2020. The men advertised their services on social media and received payment for the collection. They then brought the waste to an unauthorised location where it was set alight.
Prosecutions were also brought against the landowner and the mother of one collector for allowing the activity to take place on her land. However, the council dropped the prosecution after both of the accused pleaded guilty.
Niall Kane, Senior Executive Engineer at Waterford City & County Councils, stated that torching waste can lead to the release toxic dioxins that are a “hazard to people’s lives and the environment”.
He stated that this case shows the complete disregard for the environment that illegal waste collection causes. Uncontrolled burning of waste in your garden or home can cause serious health problems for you and your children, as well as your neighbours.