New venture tackles illegal dumping
A new initiative to tackle illegal dumping in Northern Ireland will enable people to anonymously tip off the authorities about offenders.
The Department of the Environment has become the first Stormont ministry to join forces with Crimestoppers in a bid to tackle the waste problem. The independent UK-wide charity already has a long standing relationship with the police in Northern Ireland, offering the public the option of reporting alleged crimes anonymously.
Now people concerned about harmful dumping can use Crimestoppers to alert the DOE's Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) about possible offences.
Environment minister Alex Attwood announced the partnership.
"Illegal waste is big business which threatens our environment, our health and our economy," he said.
"Unscrupulous businesses are taking huge sums of money from all of us that could otherwise be used for schools, hospitals and roads. Working with Crimestoppers will help us tackle the illegal dumping of waste materials, including hazardous chemicals, scrap metal and tyres, which harm the environment."
Encouraging the public to report environmental crime to Crimestoppers, Mr Attwood said: "Environmental criminals are undermining the legitimate waste industry, our way of life, and our children's heritage, for a quick profit.
"Large-scale dumping is polluting our land, our water and our air - and DOE and I will do everything we can to stop it, and to make Northern Ireland a better place to live, work and invest."
The minister added: "People may be reticent about reporting waste crime or in fact not know how. I want to reassure you, if you suspect anyone is involved in illegal waste activity - carrying, dumping or burying large amounts of waste - you will not be put at risk if you report it, so please help us protect your community's environment, health and quality of life and call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111."
Susan Brew, Northern Ireland Crimestoppers regional manager said: "Crimestoppers are delighted to have joined up in partnership with DOE and feel very positive that this partnership will generate some valuable information."