Raising a pertinent motion during the monthly meeting of the Athlone-Moate Municipal District, Fianna Fáil Councillor, Vincent McCormack, called upon the local authority executive to establish a subcommittee comprising of relevant Council Officials, members and representatives from the PPN to implement measures aimed at reducing instances of illegal dumping and fly-tipping across the District.
“The level of dumping and fly tipping throughout the period of increased restrictions has been completely unacceptable as I am sure each member here will agree. During the months of April and May there was hardly a day passed where I did not receive a call from a member of the public to report an instance this disgusting nature.
“While I appreciate the job of our warden in responding to all of these call outs and investigating each instance in the hope of finding evidence I feel very strongly that there is more that we can be doing as a Council.
The vast majority of the people in this municipal district are completely disgusted by the behaviour of a very small few who have absolutely no regard for the environment around us. We cannot allow these people to carry on blighting our towns, villages and countryside with household rubbish, furniture, toys or anything else which they do not feel like disposing of in a responsible way.
“The deterrents we currently have in place are not enough and we need to re-examine not just how we enforce littering, but also how we educate our citizens and how we support the majority of people in protecting our environment.,” Cllr. McCormack asserted.
The Fianna Fáil Councillor noted a number of relevant mechanisms which have previously been proposed within the Council Chamber, each boasting merit.
“Over the past few months these proposals have included purchasing covert surveillance cameras, naming and shaming those issued with littering fines in the local newspapers each week, compiling a database of how each household in the district dispose of their household waste by accessing the files of private waste collectors and imposing a by-law whereby fast food outlets must print the name and phone number of customers on packaging.
“I would be confident that each of these measures would have a positive impact on the problem. I also realise, however that there are many other measures which should be considered and costed,” Cllr. McCormack continued.
In such regard, Cllr. McCormack stressed the need for the establishment of a relevant sub-committee who would cost a range of measures with the aspiration of ridding the District of unsightly fly tipping scenes.
“This committee could report back to the District members on a regular basis and put forward costed proposals to the members in advance of district funding allocations. Members, we have an opportunity to lead the way for other Councils by implementing a targeted approach on this issue based on researched solutions.
“Nationally, to this point we have been re-active in dealing with dumping, we now need to be pro-active in terms of preventative measures and education. We also need to be ruthless in the punishments which we enforce. The general public are on our side in dealing with this issue and we must show them that we are willing to take the necessary steps to stamp out this vile and disgusting behaviour,” Cllr. McCormack concluded.