Thursday 15 November 2018

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Cork Independent

INDOpinion

Crackdown on illegal dumping needed across Cork city

Thursday, 9th August, 2018 9:11am

The scourge of illegal dumping in the Cork city area is draining major resources away from other important public services.

Cork City Council bylaws clearly state that it is the duty of all owners of the waste to ensure the correct disposal of their waste. There is no shortage of waste collection services, nor are we lacking in authorised waste disposal facilities where members of the public can bring their waste.

There is no excuse for illegal dumping in the city, most especially at the rate at which we are experiencing this complete disregard for the law, the environment, our neighbours and our local vendors.

Week in, week out, I hear from residents about the growth of illegal dumping. Apart from the public nuisance, this activity also represents a public health risk.

We need a properly resourced crackdown on those responsible alongside a public information campaign on the impact and cost of fly tipping.

Offences under the Litter Pollution Act 1997 can carry an on-the-spot fine of €150 or a maximum fine of €3,000 in court. These of course sound like a strong enough deterrent in themselves, but they have little positive result if not enforced.

The true cost of illegal dumping ultimately falls back on all of us and this is only set to increase further as the problem worsens. There are a handful of officers employed to enforce these important bylaws and fines on those responsible but the cost of even these has grown to an unsustainable level.

More than bylaw reinforcement, informing the public of the costs, public health concerns and environmental impact associated with dumping is urgently required.

The money spent by local authorities in their attempt to control the problem, should be allocated towards crucial public services, not dealing with other people’s disgusting behaviour.

We need to see a properly resourced strategy to deal with it, beginning with a paperless information campaign.

Just last week, a group of Cork Harbour Water Guardians volunteers came together to clean up along the Little Island Amenity Walk. The true love of that area is shown through the fact that these volunteers were not all Little Island locals but people from all over the city who use the walkway to walk their dogs, to run, to walk and catch up with friends, to teach their children how to cycle etc.

Approximately 50 black bags of rubbish, along with other items like traffic cones, parts of deck chairs, broken buggies etc. were collected in just one afternoon. It would have been a tough, and likely, filthy and smelly job but I commend those who took on the task. Though at the end of the day, they should not have had to take it on at all.

I’m also aware that those who partake in illegal dumping go to great lengths to do so. It cannot be easy to gather up multiple bags of rubbish, possibly built up over a number of weeks, and larger broken items like buggies and take them to such beloved public spaces and walkways in Cork and dump them without being seen.

There has to be an easier way to tackle our litter and waste disposal problems that is both affordable for the local authorities and those in need of waste disposal services.

I am urging those partaking in illegal dumping to please think of the environment, as well as the safety of our neighbours, our children, our domestic animals and wildlife before committing such offences again.

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