Waste charges unpaid by 50% of residents in city litter blackspot

Expansion of CCTV surveillance system seen as solution to the problem of illegal dumping

Frankfort Cottages, Killarney Street, where Dublin City Council have displayed a poster with images of people caught dumping litter in the lane . Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Frankfort Cottages, Killarney Street, where Dublin City Council have displayed a poster with images of people caught dumping litter in the lane . Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

 

More than half of households targeted in a two-year Dublin City Council crackdown on illegal dumping have failed to pay waste charges.

The figures contributed to the council’s decision to expand its use of CCTV images to expose people who dump their rubbish in the street.

Since February 2014 the council has been conducting inspections of about 4,700 homes in 160 streets in the north inner city, the most littered area in the capital and one of the State’s worst litter black spots, to determine if residents are paying to have their waste collected.

Figures up to March this year show 54 per cent of households have not signed up to any authorised waste collection service, despite concerted efforts by the council to make them aware of their legal obligation to do so. Warning notices have been issued to more than 2,000 non-compliant households over the two-year period the council said.

Fines issued

In addition to the door-to- door inspections, the council’s north-inner-city litter action group has in the last six months investigated more than 4,000 bags of rubbish illegally dumped in the street and has issued fines in 254 cases.

However, fine payment rates are low and in some of the bags inspected previously issued litter fines were found. The council said its efforts had not been sufficient to stem the illegal dumping problem in the area and “overall the figures remain unacceptably high”.

Litter black spot

The council last month erected a poster in a litter black spot in the north inner city showing 12 people caught on CCTV dumping rubbish.

The poster has been bolted to a wall behind a Perspex shield at Frankfort Cottages, near the Five Lamps, one of the city’s worst areas for illegal dumping. CCTV cameras were installed a number of weeks previously and they had some effect in reducing dumping, but within a day of the poster going up the street was clear.

The poster shows people dumping refuse sacks and smaller supermarket bags, as well as a woman dumping a suitcase and two young men dumping a sofa. The faces are slightly blurred, due to the quality of the CCTV footage, but they would be able to identify themselves, as most likely would their neighbours, the council said.

The Data Protection Commissioner contacted the council asking that it justify its use of the images.

The council plans to keep the poster in place and extend the campaign to more litter black spots in the city.