Dublin City Council proposes to stop cleaning selected streets for a week at a time and allow the waste to pile up in order to send message that illegal dumping is not acceptable.
Dublin City Council plans to suspend street cleaning in certain parts of the city from next month because of the “unrelenting issue” of illegal dumping.
Senior council officials said they cannot continue to waste resources by clearing up on a daily basis after residents who are throwing rubbish, bagged and unbagged, into the streets.
The problem was widespread, but was at its worst in the north inner city which had a large proportion of multiple occupancy flats that are owned by private landlords, the manager of the central area of the city, Charlie Lowe, said.
“It’s not just people whose cultural background and whose ability to comprehend the regulations is less than what Irish people would have; that’s a factor we have always tried to take into consideration. Some of this behaviour is wilful, in my view, and some of this behaviour is as a result of not knowing any better and just thinking it’s acceptable behaviour.”
‘Issue of indifference’
The council was not helping the problem by clearing these large volumes of domestic waste, Mr Lowe said. “There is a core group that, it seems to us on the ground, no matter what one does there’s an attitudinal issue or an issue of indifference that, if left unchecked, will result in a domino effect, where people will shrug their shoulders and say: ‘Why would I bother buying tags when this is allowed to go on?’”
The council has identified an area from Gardiner Street to Croke Park where the problem was particularly acute, with the North Circular Road, Summerhill, Ballybough, Sherrard Street and Fitzgibbon Street identified as “black spots”.
It proposes to stop cleaning selected streets for a week at a time and allow the waste to pile up. At the end of the week environmental health officers and litter wardens would remove the rubbish and see if there was the potential to identify offenders and apply fines. The process would potentially be continued for a month at a time so residents would realise the council was no longer going to “clear up their mess”.
The strategy was “radical” and “high-risk”, Mr Lowe said, but the traditional ways of dealing with the problem were not working. It was likely, he said, that both the council management and councillors would “draw ire on to ourselves”, particularly from residents who paid for their bags to be collected and were seeing their streets fill up with rubbish, but the problem and associated reputational damage to the city could not be left unchecked.“We cannot continue to throw resources at the problem.”
The initiative is due to start next month so it does not conflict with the hurling and football championships in Croke Park. Letters will be sent to residents and a media campaign will be undertaken to explain strategy before it starts.