With bonfire night fast approaching, children around the county are busy collecting wood for the annual Eve of St John, or Bonfire night as it is more widely known, which falls this Saturday night, June 23.
Although it is seen as a traditional summer celebration and supported by Mayo County Council, for some, it is an excuse to dispose of waste illegally.
Mayo County Council Environment Awareness Officer, Sharon Cameron discourages using bonfires for ‘clearing out the garage’, advising people to have consideration for the environment and for people’s health.
Speaking to The Mayo News, Ms Cameron outlined the council’s efforts to promote a safe bonfire season. “We are trying to promote as much awareness beforehand as possible. The majority of bonfires are celebrations that stay true to the tradition … but you do have the incidences of tyres and mattresses being burned,” explained Cameron.
Environmental Enforcement Officers will be out on patrol in the run up to bonfire night. “Materials are being gathered and will continue to pile up over the next number of days, so in order to ensure safe burning our Enforcement Officers will be monitoring collections,” Ms Cameron confirmed.
“When [certain kinds of] waste is burned, the fumes it contains are not burned up, but exist in the environment and go back into the ground, affecting cattle, vegetation and ourselves,” explained the Environment Awareness Officer.
This year she is appealing to people to be mindful of the dangers to their own health when exposed to bonfires that include waste materials.
“Mayo County Council encourages the old tradition of bonfire night, but we ask people to celebrate by burning untreated wood waste only.”
Reaffirming the Council’s sentiments, Ms Cameron said June 23 is a ‘great night’. “The Council is all for bonfires,” she said. “We don’t want to see it dying out. We want to keep the tradition going, but we also want people to remember what it’s all about.”
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