CITY Hall’s director of environmental services has admitted it is almost impossible to completely eradicate dumping in the city.
Valerie O’Sullivan, director of environment and recreation services at Cork City Council, was responding to councillors who have warned that dumping is increasing despite strict new bylaws being adopted by the local authority which place penalties on households not in receipt of waste disposal contracts or possession of lawful evidence of waste collection.
Dumping incidents have been reported by The Echo in recent weeks at Blackpool, Spring Lane and Glanmire.
Ms O’Sullivan said that while dumping is a “disgraceful” criminal act, it has become a behavioural issue which enforcement of the bylaws will take time to reduce.
“Dumping is a criminal activity. It is a result of behavioural problems among certain people who choose to do this.
“What a local authority can do about that is beyond me. One answer would be absolute seriousness about enforcement and that will take time.
“Councillors should bear in mind that we only adopted the bylaws giving us stronger powers of enforcement less than a month ago. The national implementation date for those bylaws has been delayed until later this month but Cork City Council has already started going out knocking on doors so it will take some time for the message to get out there that we are very serious about enforcement because, let’s face it, we haven’t been for some time.
“We are not going to change people who dump, really, until that is up and running but it is a criminal activity.
“We have had some success with Ellis’s Yard. That was as a result of the environment directorate working with the housing directorate. We can’t stop the offenders reoffending but we’ll keep working on it,” she added.
It is hoped the new bylaws will be instrumental in tackling an increase in dumping across the city in recent months which councillors have described as an “epidemic”.
If the householder uses a civic amenity site, they will need to keep receipts for at least a year to prove this, or face fines of up to €2,500, while fixed penalties of €75 will be issued to households that are without waste removal contracts.
Councillor Fiona Ryan said dumping is only going to increase due to the privatisation of waste collection and the proliferation of illegal waste collection and fly-tipping going on.
“The reality is that it is extremely hard to catch these people because there is so many people doing it and they are wise to how to do it without being caught.”