'The smell of dirty nappies was turning my stomach' – council investigates dumped rubbish including discarded mail
Mayo County Council is investigating after up to 20 rubbish bags were illegally dumped by the side of the road, including named and addressed correspondence.
Local man Joe Freeley was alerted to the dumping by a neighbour, and headed out to a country lane in Carrowneaden, Ballyhaunis, to see if he could help clean up the area.
He told Independent.ie he believes the discarded post belongs to the person who dumped the household waste.
Mr Freeley has been involved with the Tidy Towns committee in Ballyhaunis for four years, but said he was shocked by what he saw.
“It’s a disgrace. We’ve had dumping problems in Ballyhaunis, but I’ve never seen anything like this - it’s as if whoever dumped it there is after clearing out a house,” he said.
Mr Freeley described finding up to 20 rubbish bags strewn across the road, blocking the way for motorists.
“I cleaned it up a bit and I notified the litter warden. If they don’t come down soon it will be everywhere within a few days. Some of the neighbours are going to start cleaning it before it starts bringing the rats around.
“It’s out in a little country lane, behind Ballyhaunis golf club. There’s very little traffic around there, so it’s an ideal place for someone to pull up and offload.”
While he was cleaning up, Mr Freeley discovered several envelopes listing a name and local address on the road.
Although he didn’t open any of the bags, he said there were “about 10 piece of evidence” pointing to one resident.
“It’s just not good enough. I can’t actually name and shame anybody because I could get myself into hot water, but they’ll have to do some explaining about how they got down there,” he said.
Mr Freeley is participating in Mayo County Council’s Adopt a Mile challenge, where he works to keep the mile around his house litter-free.
“You wouldn’t find a cigarette butt on the road now it’s so clean. So this is frustrating, you have to have pride in the place you live in, but this dumping was so indiscriminate,” he said.
“If we don’t put a stop to it straight away it will just continue.”
He added that he couldn’t capture the scale of the mess on his camera, and that it extended far beyond the road into the ditch.
“There’s double the amount of what you can see in the photographs in behind the ditch that I didn’t go near.
“I had to stop cleaning today because the smell of dirty nappies was getting to me. Even when I was wearing a mask, it was turning my stomach.
“Some poor council worker is eventually going to have to come along and clean that up, because it’s a health hazard as it is at the moment.”
Local Fine Gael councillor John Cribbin said he was disappointed to hear of the incident.
“I haven’t been contacted about that case, but I am aware that dumping an ongoing problem for all local authorities and for all towns across every county, unfortunately,” he said.
Sharon Cameron, environment awareness officer for Mayo County Council, told Independent.ie that the environmental section has been notified of the incident.
“We received an email from a member of the public this morning on this matter and the complaint has been logged for investigation by the Litter Warden,” she said.