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Debunked: No, this photo does not show a skip filled with food waste from Dublin restaurants which were forced to close

The photo has been shared on social media in recent days – but it was actually taken in England five years ago.

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THIS PHOTO OF a skip filled with food waste was shared widely on social media in recent days after Dublin went into Level 3 restrictions for Covid-19. 

The image shows a large skip filled almost to overflowing with food, with a large number of vegetables visible on the top layer. 

The photo was shared by a number of different people across Facebook and Twitter, who connected the food waste with Dublin restaurants being forced to close as a result of the restrictions. 

Under the Level 3 guidelines, restaurants and cafes in Dublin are only allowed to open for takeaway, delivery and outdoor dining (up to a maximum of 15 people at once). 

On 18 September, when the restrictions were announced for Dublin due to the rate of Covid-19 infections, the new measures were brought in quickly. 

Following the announcement shortly after 6pm, restaurants were told that indoor dining areas were to be closed as of midnight that night. 

“The government gave Dublin restaurants 3 hrs [sic] to close,” says one of the most popular tweets which contained the image, which garnered more than 2,600 likes. “Amount of fresh food wasted shocking.”

“Dublin restaurants given 3 hours notice to shut led to massive food waste,” said a post on Facebook, which had more than one thousand shares. 

While the people who shared the image may have intended it to be illustrative, rather than a literal depiction of food waste in Dublin that night, many of the responses on social media believed the image was showing Dublin. 

“That is an absolutely scandalous sight,” says one tweet. “What a horrible picture to have to post,” says another. 

The evidence 

The image was not taken in Dublin, it is not connected with Covid-19 restrictions, and restaurants in Dublin were given more than three hours notice before they had to close. 

In fact, the photograph was taken as part of a campaign against food waste in London five years ago. 

It was taken in November 2015 as part of a direct action campaign by an organisation called This is Rubbish, who wanted to highlight the role of supermarkets in food waste. 

The skip was filled with food that would otherwise have gone to waste and brought to the headquarters of Tesco and Sainsbury’s to highlight the issue of food waste to the public and allow the campaigners to speak to management at the supermarket chains. 

Photographs of the skip from the day can be seen on the This is Rubbish Twitter page here, here and here, as well as on their Facebook page here

It can be seen that the side of the skip says London Skip Hire Ltd. 

The exact version of the photograph of the skip shared on Twitter and Facebook in Ireland can be seen here on the website of Food is Wasted, another food waste campaign based in London. 

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The photograph was not taken in Dublin and does not show food waste from restaurants forced to close due to Level 3 restrictions. 

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There is a lot of false news and scaremongering being spread in Ireland at the moment about coronavirus. Here are some practical ways for you to assess whether the messages that you’re seeing – especially on WhatsApp – are true or not.

STOP, THINK AND CHECK

Look at where it’s coming from. Is it someone you know? Do they have a source for the information (e.g. the HSE website) or are they just saying that the information comes from someone they know? A lot of the false news being spread right now is from people claiming that messages from ‘a friend’ of theirs. Have a look yourself – do a quick Google search and see if the information is being reported elsewhere. 

Secondly, get the whole story, not just a headline. A lot of these messages have got vague information (“all the doctors at this hospital are panicking”) and don’t mention specific details. This is often – but not always a sign – that it may not be accurate. 

Finally, see how you feel after reading it. A lot of these false messages are designed to make people feel panicked. They’re deliberately manipulating your feelings to make you more likely to share it. If you feel panicked after reading something, check it out and see if it really is true.

TheJournal.ie’s FactCheck is a signatory to the International Fact-Checking Network’s Code of Principles. You can read it here. For information on how FactCheck works, what the verdicts mean, and how you can take part, check out our Reader’s Guide here. You can read about the team of editors and reporters who work on the factchecks here

Have you gotten a message on WhatsApp or Facebook or Twitter about coronavirus that you’re not sure about and want us to check it out? Message or mail us and we’ll look into debunking it. WhatsApp: 085 221 4696 or Email: answers@thejournal.ie 

About the author:

Christine Bohan

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