One of two addressed envelopes found inside rubbish bags dumped in Loughaderra this week.

Litter bugs make a bags of rubbish

Litter offenders will be thinking twice before dumping their waste in Cork after volunteers tracked down culprits using addresses found on envelopes in rubbish bags.

Not 24 hours after performing a large-scale clean up at Loughaderra Lake near Castlemartyr, volunteers at Clean Coasts Ballynamona found two freshly-dumped domestic rubbish bags in the water.

Determined to identify those responsible, volunteers investigated the already ripped bags and found two letters bearing two different addresses.

The addresses and details of the illegal dumping have since been given to Cork County Council and a fine has been sent to each address.

Founder of Clean Coasts Ballynamona, Proinsias Ó Tuama told the Cork Independent that if it comes to it, he has no problem to go to court and give evidence.

“We had just cleaned that spot the day before. When we saw the bags, we were like, 'that's new, that's fresh'. I think maybe emotion came into it then. When you are trying to care for something, it's tough to see this just 24 hours later,” said Mr Ó Tuama.

He added: “All we know is a fine will be issued to both addresses and if that person wants to take their chances in court, then we will be there to give evidence of what we found.”

Leaving or throwing litter in a public place is an offence which can be subject to an on-the-spot fine of €150 or a maximum fine of €3,000 in court.

A person convicted of a litter offence may also be required by the court to pay the local authority's costs and expenses in investigating the offence and bringing the prosecution.

Recently, Irish litter laws have increased the powers of local authorities to combat the problem of illegal dumping of refuse and rubbish.

Where a local authority finds material that is illegally dumped and establishes the identity of the owner of the material, that person will have a case to answer without necessarily having to be caught in the act.

Where the identity of an owner is established in any dumping incident, regardless of whether they were caught in the act, proceedings will be taken against the owner of the waste.

Clean Coasts Ballynamona is a multi-award winning environmental group started in 2015 and comprising of over 250 volunteers.

The group cleans and maintains 40km of coastline in Cork, which equates to just under 1.5 per cent of the total Irish coastline.