Thursday, February 26, 2009

Trashing Waterfalls

This article caught my attention recently. Apparently, someone decided to use waterfalls as a waste dumping ground to avoid costs of waste disposal. It wasn't until he was caught in the act did authorities realize the extent of the damage he had done. Anyways, here's the article from the South Wales Guardian:

Waste dumped at waterfalls
6:20am Wednesday 25th February 2009
AN UPPER Swansea Valley man was ordered to pay more than £7,700 and do 200 hours unpaid work after being caught dumping rubbish in one of the area’s top tourist spots.

Jeffrey Charles Rouse, from Coelbren, was also banned from driving for six months by Brecon magistrates after he admitted disposing and burying illegal waste at Henrhyd Waterfalls early last year.

The 57-year-old was seen by Environment Agency officers in February last year covering a pit filled with controlled waste, including wood, plastic and rubble.

The pit had previously been dug out and filled with the waste.

Further excavation of the pit, carried out as part of the investigation, found the full extent of the waste buried.

The pits contained primarily builders rubble, slate and bricks.

However, a pit excavated at the lower end of the site contained significant quantities of waste including carpets, wood, plastic and bin bags containing domestic waste.

Officers found that the different wastes were degrading in the soil causing heavily-polluted liquid to form.

This noxious liquid had the potential to cause significant damage to a nearby tributary of the Afon Tawe, the Nant Llech.

The Llech is an important spawning ground for brown trout, sewin and salmon.

The Environment Agency says that if the illegal activity had continued, the impact on the fish population in the Tawe, an important river for commercial and game fishermen, could have been severe.

Disposing of the waste, believed to have originated from a house and building clearance, in the pit was financially motivated.

Mr Rouse would have avoided disposal costs, depriving local companies from much needed income at a difficult time.

Lyn Richards, environmental crime team leader for Environment Agency Wales, said: “We believe that Rouse was aware that he was acting illegally.

“He knew the law but decided to risk prosecution to make an easy profit.

“But this penalty shows that crime doesn’t pay.

He added: “When we excavated the site we could not believe the amount of waste there.

“It had started to rot causing this horrible liquid, or leachate, to form.

“This leachate is extremely dangerous if it ends up in local rivers, harming fish and wildlife.

“The pits we found were only 20m away from the Nant Llech.”

Rouse was fined £6,000 and ordered to pay £1,725 in costs by magistrates.

Read the original article here.

After reading this article, it appears that the culprit is putting the blame on the bad economy. And that got me wondering... Could this be happening elsewhere? Or even worse, would a corporation or some company with political ties would've gotten away with this?

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