Council Partners Health News

Bonfires Can Cause Serious Damage to the Environment and Our Health

Halloween can be a lot of fun especially for our children and young people and while we want everyone to have an enjoyable time, it is the time of year when we ask the community to remember that bonfires can cause serious damage and injuries both to our environment and to our health.

There has been a significant reduction in the number of bonfires over recent years as the public recognise the importance of responsible waste management and avail of the wide range of waste and recycling services available.

In the lead up to Halloween Night Donegal County Council is asking householders, businesses and communities not to provide materials for bonfires. Suzanne Bogan, Waste Awareness Officer with the Council says that “while traditionally wood and straw were used on bonfires in recent times materials such as tyres, mattresses, couches, furniture, plastics, aerosols, foam, metal, painted timber, treated timber, household waste  etc are burned on bonfires. This type of activity is illegal. It is also an offence to supply waste materials to parties collecting for bonfires. The uncontrolled burning of these waste types is very damaging to our health and environment as harmful dioxins are created and released into the air that we breathe.”

Bonfires can also very often be built close to houses and other property and can cause serious damage and injuries particularly where the burning of highly combustible materials is taking place.  The Council’s Environment Section has produced a short video on the issues with bonfires and you can also view the “Stay Safe at Halloween” video message created by the Donegal Fire Service on the Council’s social media pages Stay Safe at Halloween.

She added, “Donegal County Council is currently monitoring a number of locations were waste materials have been supplied as bonfire material over the past number of years”.

To protect human health and the environment, Donegal County Council is asking all businesses and commercial outlets who deal in, or have dealt with, the sale, supply, delivery, collection or treatment of tyres or waste tyres, for example; tyre retailers, suppliers, car dealerships, plant hire, scrap yards and waste collectors/facilities etc; to ensure that all tyres and waste tyres are safely secured and managed accordingly so as they do not potentially or inadvertently form part of any bonfire(s).

Contact the Emergency Services by calling 999 or 112 if you see a bonfire being lit close to buildings, trees, overhead cables, underground services or car parking areas.

Source: Donegal County Council

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