Rubbish dumps set to overflow as waste levels grow
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By Kevin Doyle
Monday November 17 2008
Ireland country is heading for a major landfill crisis.
Within the next two years, almost a third of Ireland's 35 landfills will be overflowing with rubbish.
According to figures from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), 11 of the 35 landfill sites around the country are likely to be full by 2011.
Another four will be under severe pressure by 2014, creating a massive headache for the relevant local authorities.
Since 2006, Waterford County Council has been forced to take rubbish from its landfill site to another facility in Co Carlow.
By the end of next year, Mayo County Council will have to consider a similar plan when its Derinumera landfill is expected to run out of capacity.
Two of Dublin's major dumps are also expected to reach capacity by 2010.
Among the sites facing closure are Arthurstown landfill in south county Dublin, Ballealy landfill in Fingal, Dunmore landfill in Kilkenny and Donohill landfill in south Tipperary.
Overall, the EPA estimates that three million tonnes of waste is being thrown into landfills every year. This means that within a decade all the country's existing dumps are likely to have reached capacity.
Only around 25 million tonnes of total landfill capacity remain nationwide.
When planned super dumps at Drehed in Kildare and Bottlehill in Cork begin operation, they are likely to begin filling fast.
Plus, the EPA expects Irish people to be generating growing amounts of waste.
Despite the new focus on recycling, the EPA projects that the amount of waste generated by each person will rise from 0.84 tonnes in 2006 to 1.15 tonnes person by 2020.
The environmental body has described the increase as “phenomenal”.
Another factor in the waste management crisis is the EU landfill directive, which will come into effect in 2010.
Under its terms, the Government will have to reduce the amount of biodegradable municipal waste that is disposed of in landfill.
Ireland is directed to reduce its disposal rates by 50pc. But it is also expected that biodegradable municipal waste, like waste from households and commercial activities, will rise by 4pc per year for the next decade, doubling by 2025 with the EPA.
In 2005, a total of 3.05 million tonnes of municipal waste was generated in Ireland, an increase of 65pc since 1995, and the EPA says that while the rate of increase is slowing, the direction is still upward.
The European Environment Agency has reported that Ireland ranks as the largest per capita generator of municipal waste in the EU. More …