DOG owners beware -- Big Brother is watching you.
Dublin City Council, tired of having to clean up dog litter from the capital's streets, is to mount covert operations aimed at catching offenders.
Mobile CCTV units and officials working undercover will mount surveillance operations to police blackspots, including Clontarf and Sandymount strands, as part of its efforts to catch offenders. And owners who claim little Fido was caught short can expect no mercy. The city plans to step up its enforcement activity and has promised more prosecutions and fines.
The new regime was revealed yesterday in the council's Litter Management Plan 2008-2011.
The plan will also see celebrities used to front advertising campaigns aimed at reducing specific litter problems such as cigarette butts, chewing gum and fast-food wrapping, while a multilingual campaign will be launched aimed at telling people of all nationalities that littering is not acceptable.
The city council currently collects 25,500 tonnes of litter from the streets each year, and has a budget of €37m for 2008.
Yesterday a range of new measures aimed at tackling litter were proposed. They include:
l Construction sites will have to be kept neat and tidy or contractors will face prosecution. Industrial estates will also have to ensure skips and waste containers and not a source of litter waste, while management companies and landlords will have to keep premises clean.
l A name and shame campaign will be extended to include businesses, public bodies and individuals found littering, and a list of prosecuted offenders will be published annually.
l Council vehicles will be painted with anti-litter messages to help promote the message that people who drop litter are themselves "pieces of filth".
l Concert promoters will have to submit litter management plans to the council, and will have to pay the city to clean up if they are not complied with.
"Dog litter is a major issue, especially for kids, and it's very much an eyesore," spokesman Hugh Coughlan said. The council also proposes introducing by-laws later this year which will require businesses to agree practical measures to tackle litter outside premises.
Businesses will have to provide a certain number of bins, and must draw up specific cleaning plans, which must be approved by the council.
Residents' associations will also be provided with free litter-picking equipment and bags, and gardai will be drafted to help in specific enforcement campaigns against graffiti and litter.
A littering tip-off system will also be introduced, where people will be able to report illegal dumping via a website or through mobile phones.
Litter bins will be mapped using satellite technology to show the distribution of the bins across the city, with bins to be power-washed once a month.
Another 15 staff will be employed to tackle litter, and €750,000 a year will be spent removing graffiti.