There is an urgent need for waste infrastructure in Ireland to deal with the countrys waste, according to new research.
Irelands Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has launched a new report entitled Irelands Environment 2008 which highlights Irelands performance on the environment over the last four years and the challenges it faces.
The report says: With a domestic deficit in infrastructure for waste recovery and disposal, Ireland exports half of its hazardous waste and over half of its recyclable waste each year.
There is an urgent need for infrastructure to enable Ireland to meet the targets on the diversion of biodegradable waste from landfill by 2010 (for example, separate collection, composting, incineration, mechanical biological treatment).
In 2006 Ireland had 29 licensed municipal landfills, 86 civic amenity sites and 1,919 bring banks countrywide for the collection and management of municipal waste.
The report underlines the need for investment in waste or recycling infrastructure and says it will only take place where there is a realistic prospect of sufficient financial returns to cover the high capital and running costs over many years within a stable policy environment.
In Ireland recycling collection services are increasingly being operated by the private sector on behalf of, in place of, or in competition with, local authorities. The report says: The ownership, direction and perceived regulatory conflicts in relation to waste need to be resolved without delay as this is negatively impacting on investment in the sector.
However, despite the challenges, EPA director general Dr. Mary Kelly said that Ireland had modernised waste management. She said: The success of the producer responsibility initiatives on packaging, Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment and the continued growth in general recycling show that the public do respond when given the necessary information and supports. In 2006, more than 52,000 tonnes of WEEE was collected.
By 2016 Ireland is required to reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill to 35% of the amount produced in 1995.