Kildare County Council is looking at ways to step up measures to prevent illegal dumping around the county.
Over 450 tonnes of unauthorised waste was collected by the council and in sponsored wheelie bins during 2012, a report issued at last week’s Clane Area Committee meeting revealed.
The cost of the removal service was €160,000, while an additional €1.6m was allocated for street cleaning last year. The council works with volunteer groups including the 36 active Tidy Towns committees, as well as residents associations, to help with clean-ups.
At the meeting Cllr Padraig McEvoy said the report “reflects a lot of the good work being done by these groups”, adding that the volunteer workers are now “covering greater areas of the county”. He also suggested that Spring clean-ups should be organised earlier, before vegetation growth conceals the rubbish.
Cllr Liam Doyle supported this idea, saying that “the same amount of work can be more effective” if it is done earlier. He pointed to a case of black refuse sacks blocking a drain and causing flooding, saying it showed that “dumping is not a passive issue”.
“We need to be more pro-active in trying to catch people who are dumping,” said Cllr Brendan Weld, who asked if more cameras could be used. “We shouldn’t tolerate it. The money could be used in better ways than to clean up illegal dumping.”
Director of Services for Transportation Michael O’Leary said “people are becoming cuter in the way that they’re dumping”, ensuring not to leave identifying material such as addressed envelopes and concealing their number-plates. He explained that hidden cameras are in use around the county.
“It’s very sad when you see the amount of damage caused by such a small group of people,” he added.
An “anti-dumping campaign”, similar to road safety campaigns carried out in the county, was suggested by Cllr Seamus Langan.
The council also provided figures for litter fines for the last two years, with almost €33,500 collected in 2012 compared with over €41,000 the previous year.
And while an additional €29,000 was collected in court fines in 2011, but just €5,735 was taken last year. However, 136 fines are still outstanding from 2012, and 30 are outstanding from 2011.
Cllr McEvoy welcomed the report but described the inability of the council to publish the names of people fined for littering, as is done in the UK, as “disappointing”.
- Liam Godinho