The site, in the Galbally area of Dungannon, is the third to be discovered in the area since last autumn. It is believed to be linked to further waste sites, which had previously been uncovered in the Ballygawley and Sanholes areas of County Tyrone.
Derek Williamson from NIEA's Environmental Crime Unit described the latest find as “significant”.
He said: “Given the nature of the waste deposited, NIEA is currently linking five ongoing investigations in the east Tyrone area. We also believe the waste originated in the Republic of Ireland.
“The volume of waste in the most recent site is still being assessed. Previously, we estimated the collective total of these waste deposits exceeded 22,000 tonnes. While subject to further estimates, we now expect volumes to exceed 30,000 tonnes. To put this into context, it would be equivalent to 12 Olympic swimming pools filled with rubbish.
“It would take considerable effort to transport and dump rubbish on such a large scale. The potential environmental effect of any unauthorised waste deposit is clear. Aside from this, there is the cost of cleaning it up.
“These incidents and their links give rise to particular concern that south and east Tyrone is being used by unscrupulous criminals to illegally dispose of waste. This is why we have now linked these incidents and have appealed for public help in detecting and preventing further deposits.
“We have not assessed any immediate public health implications. However, we would advise anyone who finds waste illegally dumped not to touch it, but to report it appropriately.
“Environmental Crime Unit officers are working with the relevant authorities, on both sides of the border, as we continue to investigate this matter.”
A man was arrested as part of yesterday’s operation and questioned in connection with illegal waste activity. He was later released pending further enquiries.
NIEA has appealed for anyone with information on the illegal dumping of waste to contact them on 028 9056 9453 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
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