Black bags of rubbish are being dumped “no matter where you go” and the problem of illegal littering has become worse in recent times, Cllr Johnnie Penrose said at the May meeting of the Mullingar Municipal District Committee (MMDC).
The Labour man had a motion on the agenda calling on the MMDC to carry out a survey to see how many householders are using a refuse collection service in the district.
Based on the 2016 statistics, there are 31,813 private households in the county, of which 28,231 (89%) are serviced with a bin collection from the 36 waste collectors authorised to operate in the county, Cllr Penrose was informed.
“Every councillor here has the same problems and the same issues,” Cllr Penrose said, referring to the incidence of illegal dumping going on.
Declaring that he can’t understand why things have become so bad, Cllr Penrose pointed out that even the litter bins in the streets are packed with rubbish.
“It beats me to know what’s happening. It’s very confusing,” he said.
“From the sort of fly tipping we are seeing in north Westmeath, I suspect there may be people operating as illegal waste collectors,” was the view of Cllr Una D’Arcy, who said she thought Cllr Penrose’s suggestion was a good one.
She said it was going to get to the point where people were going to have to be aware they would be asked to prove how they disposed of their rubbish.
Cllr Sorca Clarke said she was sick to the teeth of the problem, and said the latest incidence of dumping that shocked her was a bedside locker thrown into a ditch.
“This is gone beyond a joke,” she said before enquiring whether there was a legal obligation on householders to be registered with a waste collection company.
Cllr Mick Dollard attributed the increase in illegal dumping to the introduction of the new pay-by-weight system.
Cllr Ken Glynn was also angered by the problem, while Cllr Paddy Hill remarked that it is so severe that there has even been building waste dumped in bogs.
“I think the cost of the collection has something got to do with it,” he said, but a further problem was that there was no depot to which people could take building rubble. He said “radical” action is now required.
Cllr Emily Wallace was also of the view that there are illegal waste collectors operating locally, while Cllr Liam McDaniel said there should be a rule that bins are emptied once full.