A Catholic environmentalist has condemned the rise in fly-tipping amid the Covid-19 lockdown.
Ellen Teague, of the Columban Justice, Peace and the Integrity of Creation, warned that the increase “shows how vulnerable society is to sudden shocks”.
Town halls say they are working hard to maintain effective waste and recycling services as some councils have reported a rise in fly-tipping. Many have suspended bulky waste collections due to staff shortages, and waste and recycling centres, or dumps, have been closed.
There are also concerns some people are exploiting the lockdown rules to provide illegal waste removal services from households who are generating more rubbish from being at home through DIY, gardening and spring cleaning, and then illegally disposing of the rubbish they collect.
Mrs Teague warned that fly-tipping ruins the environment for everybody.
“Rural fly-tipping in particular has soared, with tonnes of waste being dumped on farmland over the Easter Bank Holiday weekend,” she told The Catholic Universe. “Much of it was household goods and DIY materials.
“It’s a disgrace, particularly as it comes at a time when farmers are working hard to get food to our shops.”
She suggested that more public information is needed to ask people not to be selfish.
“Yet, there is a dilemma when bulky waste collections have been suspended and waste and recycling centres closed,” Ms Teague admitted. “I am not sure this can carry on for further weeks and months before people resort to more fly-tipping. The issue shows how vulnerable society is to sudden shocks.
“In my area of North London waste collections are running as normal, but I now put notes out to thank our collectors. The lockdown has certainly given us a better appreciation of our waste collectors. They offer an essential service at any time.”
The Environment Department (Defra) said its latest advice to councils was to prioritise ‘black bag’ residual rubbish to prevent the build-up of waste and to protect public health.
The Government is also encouraging councils to keep their recycling centres open if social distancing guidelines can be adhered to onsite.
Picture: A view of rubbish left by fly-tippers. (Gareth Fuller/PA).