- in Environment
The environment minister has been asked to intervene amid concerns about suspected illegal dumping in north Belfast.
Two sites are under investigation by the Environment Agency.
Residents raised concerns about large amounts of rubbish being dumped at a warehouse in Edenderry Industrial Estate and wasteland.
The BBC understands that a number of residents have left their homes due to large numbers of rats and flies.
Residents have asked Edwin Poots, the agriculture, environment & rural affairs minister, to take action
Used mattresses, medical equipment, food waste and gas bottles are just some of the dumped waste.
Locals said that every day for eight weeks, lorry loads of waste has been dumped at these two sites and they have had enough.
Resident Stacey Graham said it is unbearable.
“Horrible, really really horrible,” she said.
“No one is able to open their windows. People can’t let their children run around their garden because there are rats running around.
“The flies are unbearable. Hundreds and hundreds of them. We can’t do it anymore. We can’t live like this.”
Harry Musson’s house backs on to the site and he said three of his neighbours have moved out.
“People have moved out because of the rats,” he said.
“They actually walk along our fence. My neighbour thought it was a squirrel with a big bushy tail. I said no that’s a rat.
“We went to the council. They said it will be cleared in three days. That was seven weeks ago”.
A Northern Ireland Environment Agency spokesman said it is investigating the “unauthorised disposal and treatment of controlled wastes” at Edenderry Industrial Estate, and the unauthorised disposal of controlled wastes at a site adjacent to the junction of Hillview Road/Crumlin Road.
“The agency are currently making arrangements for the waste deposited on the latter site to be removed.
“As these investigations are on-going it would not be appropriate to comment further at this stage.”
Local MLA William Humphrey said locals have been plagued with rats and flies.
“It’s coming from some dumping,” he said.
“It is on an industrial scale. We now have a situation where people have had to leave their homes and go and stay in their caravans. People have been complaining of being ill.”
“The department (environment) have given a period of time for it to be cleared. My view is that period needs to be expedited and I’ve made that clear to the environment agency and to the local council that this cannot continue. It must be cleared urgently.”