Donegal farmer James Woods has blamed COVID-19 lockdowns for an increase in fly tipping along commonage ground in the county.

“The situation has definitely gotten worse since lockdowns began last March, with people taking all sorts of rubbish to these rural locations,” Woods told the Irish Farmers Journal.

“I was out for a cycle at the weekend and seen [sic] TVs, mattresses and bin bags dumped along the commonages behind Errigal. There’s everything you could possibly think of dumped out there.”

Illegal dumping on Errigal commonage ground. \James Woods

Scenic landfill

The Gort an Choirce farmer suspects local people of contributing to the problem.

“This hasn’t been caused by a passer-by throwing rubbish out the window of their car. It’s local people taking household waste and driving out to these scenic places and treating it like a landfill.”

“While driving on the Muckish road you wouldn’t notice the rubbish because you’d be taken aback by the scenic views. It’s a whole different story when you’re walking or out on the bike. You can see the full extent at ground level.”

Illegal dumping on Errigal commonage ground. \James Woods

Risk to livestock

Woods believes a lack of litter management in the area from Donegal County Council has compounded the issue.

“With COVID-19 there has been less people out litter picking and the waste is starting to pile up. The County Council needs to get out and tackle the issue. It’s an environmental hazard and also poses a risk to livestock.

“Plastics will blow around the fields and a cow could very easily come along and ingest it. People need to be educated on the dangers and the local authorities need to tackle the current mess.”