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Independent.ie

Saturday 23 June 2018

Calls for illegal dumpers to be named and shamed

  • Local councils are turning to CCTV in the fightback against illegal dumping around the country
  • Send pics and videos to alan.sherry@sundayworld.com
Soldiers Hill at Garlow Cross Near Navan. Localman Liam McCarthy looks through the tipped rubbish. Pic: Seamus Farrelly
Soldiers Hill at Garlow Cross Near Navan. Localman Liam McCarthy looks through the tipped rubbish. Pic: Seamus Farrelly

Alan Sherry

Last week, the Sunday World launched a campaign to ‘Take out the Trash’ after six tonnes of illegal rubbish was discovered on the Wicklow border during a three-day period.

As part of the campaign, we are looking to publish images of the penny-pinchers who are dumping waste in our parks, countryside and laneways.

With many areas across the country reporting an increase in illegal dumping in recent times, more measures are being introduced to catch those involved.

Drogheda Deputy Mayor Richie Culhane is hoping to introduce a covert camera system in dumping blackspots.

"To send out a message to people fly-tipping and dumping illegally I’ve proposed installing covert cameras in areas where it’s happening on a frequent basis," he told the Sunday World.

Illegal Dumpers

"The only way to get the message across that we’re serious about dealing with illegal dumpers is by catching and prosecuting them. There are very few prosecutions. The nature of it is it can be done at night or in an area with no traffic. The beauty about cover camera systems is you can move them from place to place."

Baths, cars, building and domestic rubbish dumped beside Beaufort College Navan. Pic Seamus Farelly
Baths, cars, building and domestic rubbish dumped beside Beaufort College Navan. Pic Seamus Farelly

Cllr Culhane also believes illegal dumpers should be named and shamed with footage showing them caught in the act.

However, The Data Protection Commissioner (DPC) wrote to Dublin City Council in 2016 after it published adverts with CCTV footage of people illegally dumping in the north inner city.

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Despite the fact there was no dispute the people were illegally dumping, the DPC told the council saying that it may have prejudicial to a person’s right to privacy.

That incident has had a chilling effect on other councils naming and shaming offenders.

Cllr Culhane feels data protection is helping illegal dumpers.

"There is too much protection afforded to people dumping in public places," he said.

"This type of behaviour is a crime and if you have criminals operating in an area you don’t stop gardaí carrying out covert surveillance on them because of data protection."

Westmeath Councillor Una D’Arcy also hit out at data protection for dumpers this week.

Domestic rubbish thrown in a drain at Garlow Cross outside Navan. Pic Seamus Farrelly
Domestic rubbish thrown in a drain at Garlow Cross outside Navan. Pic Seamus Farrelly

"It should be challenged. They’re opening the boot taking out rubbish and throwing it into the countryside. There’s no wiggle room," she said.

"I don’t understand why they’re getting shelter of the DPC."

"It costs huge money that instead of being spent on roads, public amenities or other ways, is spent cleaning up after people."

Cllr D’Arcy explained how people are dumping things like white goods and glass bottles even though they can be disposed of for free.

Meanwhile, Cllr Culhane said councils should be able to target people who they suspect don’t dispose of their waste legally.

Dumped rubbish at Garlow Cross Navan. Pic Seamus Farrelly
Dumped rubbish at Garlow Cross Navan. Pic Seamus Farrelly

"Councils should have the ability to go into a house and demand to see where those individuals are dumping their waste.

"A lot of people don’t subscribe to refuse collectors. Those people should be prosecuted unless they can show where they are getting rid of their waste," he said.

Environment Minister Denis Naughten said illegally dumped mattresses "are emerging as a significant environmental problem for local authorities with many mattresses being illegally dumped on road ways, mountains and beaches".

As a result councils around the country are being encouraged to hold a mattress amnesty day, where people can bring their mattresses to a recycling point free of charge.

Wexford County Council held an amnesty day a few months ago which saw 530 mattresses brought in over just one day.


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