ULSTER Unionist MLA Danny Kinahan has urged young people to "bonfire responsible" after he discovered a delivery of tyres at a private bonfire in Templepatrick.
The local MLA said both Antrim and Newtownabbey councils work hard to ensure that bonfires in the local area are safely managed.
“Private bonfires unfortunately are not subject to the same monitoring, however they are obliged to obey the same laws,” Mr Kinahan said.
He added: “Having come across what appeared to be a delivery of tyres to a private bonfire behind a primary school, I am concerned that those involved may not realise the full implications of burning tyres.
“This is not about being a kill-joy - it’s about protecting people from the effects of highly toxic fumes.
“Those involved should be concerned by the bonfire’s proximity to a local primary school, given that the smoke and toxic fumes from burning tyres will pollute the surrounding air, water, soil and vegetation.
“Many of the toxins released have the capacity to cause a genetic mutation that can lead to cancer or genetic diseases in future generations. This is not about councils wanting to spoil peoples’ fun, but about protecting their health.
“Given that community groups can secure funding in return for holding more environmentally-friendly bonfires, I would urge those keen to build their own to get involved and keep on the right side of the law.
“I am however determined that those who deliberately sell tyres for this purpose should be dealt with appropriately. The Assembly must put in place a mechanism that empowers the Northern Ireland Environment Agency and the PSNI to deal appropriately with these individuals.
“There is also a need to make the responsible disposal and recycling of tyres a better alternative for companies than selling them on for bonfires.
“Thanks are due to the police and the fire service for monitoring the bonfire, and to the council for providing timely information on these events. Their hard work ensures that we can continue to enjoy bonfires in safety.”