AN appeal for more CCTV cameras has been made following yet another spate of illegal dumping in Portarlington.
Cllr Tom Mulhall asked the county council to place cameras in all dumping black spots throughout the Graiguecullen-Portarlington Municipal District. He also asked Coillte to take similar action to curb the dumping scourge.
“Dumping is a huge issue in Laois and it seems to be getting worse,” cllr Mulhall told the latest meeting of Graiguecullen-Portarlington Municipal District. “A huge volume of stuff was taken away during clean-up week, but we need to keep up the momentum. There are only three litter wardens in Laois and they are not magicians.”
He added: “It costs Laois County Council and Coillte a fortune every year to dispose of rubbish. If we had more CCTV cameras, we wouldn’t have to pay as much and we wouldn’t have to clean up as much. We’re making progress, but we need to make more.”
However, cllr Ben Brennan disagreed that the council is making progress in the war on dumping. He said: “I think it’s a war we have lost. It’s just unreal what people are dumping. We cleaned up in Kilgorey, but five tons of rubbish was back there again. Even ten litter wardens couldn’t deal with it, never mind three. We need more cameras. Tractor-loads of stuff are being dumped.”
Cllr Brennan recalled that, during clean-up week, volunteers in his area collected seven bags of rubbish and six contained soiled nappies. Repeating a regular call for offenders to be named and shamed, he declared: “The dirt in this county is unreal. People have no shame. Their names need to be up in big print and that’s what would stop them.”
Cllr Aidan Mullins felt CCTV cameras were not the only answer. He suggested that bye-laws be revised, so that council officials had the power to ask for proof of a household’s rubbish collection system, similar to a TV licence. However, cllr Mulhall disagreed, as he believed 95% of households disposed of rubbish properly. He said: “It is only a small minority that is doing a lot of the dumping.”
Cllr Paschal McEvoy argued that things went wrong when bin collection was privatised. He would like to see a system whereby council tenants paid for waste collection as part of their rent.
In a written response, senior engineer Orla Barrett said the county council deploys mobile CCTV cameras and drones at litter black spots across the county on rotation. She said: “We are working with Coillte on a number of sites throughout the county, including the Graiguecullen-Portarlington Municipal District in the deployment of both drones and CCTV. Additional locations can be included on the rota.”