AN audio warning system for tackling Dublin's chronic dog fouling problem could be rolled out this year.
The initiative has already proved a huge success on a north Dublin promenade, where a reduction of more than 80pc was achieved.
Start-up company RiteView Solutions is scheduled to discuss a wider implementation of its system with the capital's four local authorities.
RiteView's device was attached to lamp posts on the seaside walkway in Baldoyle during the summer, and subsequent analysis showed the incidence of dog fouling fell by 82pc.
The audio message is activated by movement and requests passers-by to clean up after their pets.
RiteView's Aidan McDermott said the company is due to talk with Fingal, Dublin City, South Dublin and Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown councils within weeks.
"The device is a preventative measure to try and get people to change, to try and make it even more socially unacceptable. That is starting to happen," he said.
RiteView, which also uses drone technology in the war on litter, hopes to have the dog fouling warning system rolled out across Co Dublin.
"It's very, very suitable for certain areas, places like promenades, the pier in Howth, the pier in Dun Laoghaire and parks. Where people have dogs, that's where it's suitable," said Mr McDermott.
RiteView, which is based at NUI Maynooth in Co Kildare, has been involved in a research project for the Environmental Protection Agency, looking at technology solutions to fly-dumping and other litter problems.
The company now intends to offer the technology it has developed to local authorities.
Mr McDermott said that in many instances, city and county councils do not want to implement the solutions themselves, so RiteView has decided to offer the service.
"Typically, local authorities are hiring security companies (to combat fly dumping) that are generally dealing with power solutions – mains power," he said.
"Cameras tend to be power-hungry and costly to install. We've been focusing on battery-powered solutions.
"It's economical to install them for short periods of time. One of the technologies we developed was a programmable audio device and we programmed it for illegal dumping at bottle banks.
"It said: 'Thank you for recycling and please keep the area clean afterwards'.
"It made a big difference. It stops the issue from happening in the first place. The success rate in prosecutions (for illegal dumping) is very low. If they stop it happening in the first place, it will be more cost-effective."
Other devices that RiteView is offering to local authorities includes drones – unmanned aerial vehicles.
Mr McDermott said an application could involve a dangerous area where council officials want to take aerial photos. He gave the example of illegal scrapyards, which cannot be viewed properly from the road.