There were angry scenes in north Belfast on Monday as protestors demanded answers over a huge rubbish dump.
Residents gathered outside Edenderry Mill on the Crumlin Road, where a large warehouse on the industrial estate now resembles a landfill site.
Those attending said that for over six weeks the rubbish has attracted rats and an unbearable amount of flies.
Shortly after 11am, protestors walked past the security barrier to confront the business owner responsible.
A large truck blocked the entrance to the warehouse site, where one employee attempted to defuse the situation.
Several protestors called for the business owner to explain why the situation had been allowed to go so far.
When contacted by the Belfast Telegraph, the business owner said he did not wish to comment further at this stage.
James Patton (65) lives nearby on Tennant Street.
“My concern is that this dumping has gone on too long. We’ve been told that there’s medical supplies and asbestos being dumped there as well," he said.
A look inside the warehouse which residents say has been a growing problem for six weeks now. pic.twitter.com/AJ4tYidTzU— Allan Preston (@AllanPreston) July 20, 2020
“I know three residents who have moved out to live in a caravan because of the plague of flies we’re having, and the rats are everywhere.”
He said he was most worried about a primary school and a football pitch adjacent to the dump.
“That will probably keep the kids away and stop them enjoying themselves. We’ve been on to politicians and everybody to sort it out, something needs to be done," he said.
Attending the protest was DUP councillor Brian Kingston.
“We’ve been highlighting this issue for four weeks now to the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) and to Belfast City Council’s Environmental Health," he said.
“From what we gather this is a licensed facility but certainly not legal to store waste long term.
“The volume of it is just astounding, it’s just 20 yards away from pensioners’ bungalows, youth football facilities, a primary school.
“We’ve been inundated with complaints about rats and flies, but it’s no surprise to me that the residents have had enough.
“They want the media to see for themselves what is being stored, with no shutter on the front door and full of flies.
“We do regard this is a major health incident. We’ve been in touch with the Belfast Health Trust, the Chief Medical Officer and we’re asking the Environment Minister Edwin Poots to put pressure on this as well.
“We understand they’re building the case for prosecution, this is a live investtigation. They’re trying to get the polluter to pay the bill for moving this waste.
“But this is the fourth week this has been going on and the rate of progress is just to slow while people are having to literally having to move out of their houses.”
The rubbish pileup has been reported to Belfast City Council and the Department for Agriculture, Environment and the Rural Economy (DAERA), which is responsible for policing waste management.
In a statement issued on Sunday, DAERA said it was aware of the matter which is currently under investigation.