Why worry about environmental management?

Ireland has never been cleaner, why should we care about environmental management?

According to  a recent survey, commissioned by Irish Business Against Litter (Ibal), Ireland and in particular Dublin has never been cleaner, with many areas of the capital “cleaner than European norms”, so why should we be worrying about environmental management?

Ireland’s two major cities, Dublin and Cork, were both found to be cleaner than ever. Of the 42 urban areas that were subject of this survey 75% of the areas surveyed were as clean, or cleaner, than European cities. Dr Tom Cavanagh of Ibal praised the results as “a turning point”.

However disadvantaged urban areas still fall victim to litter. Areas like Dublin’s north inner city was described as  the survey’s only “litter black spot”.  An Taisce, the national trust for Ireland, reported the North Strand area of Dublin  as having suffered “long-term abuse and neglect”, similarly “dumping on a widespread scale” blighted the Summerhill area.

Portland Row, Upper Sheriff street and the area around Samuel Beckett Bridge was found to be in an equally terrible state on various days of inspection. This was also replicated in areas such as Midleton, Co Cork; Galway city; Ballina and Castlebar in Co Mayo; Portlaoise, Co Laois; Tipperary town; and Navan, Co Meath.

The survey also classified Mullingar, Co Westmeath; Ennis, Co Clare; and Monaghan town as littered.

The cost to the tax payers has never been higher, with damage to health as well as damage to the exchequer being the sum of every piece of rubbish illegally dumped.

Only today has the full cost of removing the toxic sludge from an illegal fuel laundering operation in Co. Louth. Despite this operation being found and removed over two years ago, the local authority has been seeking a specialist environmental management contractor which is estimated to cost approximately €600,000. This is in addition to €3,000,000 the local authority has spent in the past 3 years clearing up after criminal gangs.

The monetary cost is not the major problem, the World Health Organisation estimate that as many as 13 Million deaths world wide could be reduced by improving environmental quality, specifically air pollution, water quality and sanitation.

We will only begin to reduce our illegal dumping when we address our attitude to environmental management, recycling and refuse management. By promoting a culture of environmental awareness, and this culture should extend to every citizen, both corporate and private, we will begin to see responsible, sustainable actions from everyone who lives in this country.

ISO 14001 Environmental Management promotes a corporate culture of responsible waste management. Certified businesses reduce their costs because of the operational improvements that are driven by the rational method of analysis espoused by the standard.

Business owners and board members can rest assured that their company has minimised its environmental footprint whilst also diminishing the  risk of pollution incidents. Above all else a certified organisation can relax in the understanding that they are compliant with all relevant environmental legislation.

If you want to ensure your business or organisation can grow in a sustainable manner, or if you need certainty that you are fully compliant with all relevant laws then contact us today for a quotation

Whilst an “Environmental Management” certification does not completely remove the issue of illegal dumping and litter we feel that ISO 140001 should play a part in a holistic solution for Ireland.

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Robert Lyons
Robert Lyons

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