Huge rise in illegal dumping at bring banks during lockdown

Westmeath County Council is set to install CCTV cameras at bring banks around the county following a massive increase in illegal dumping since the start of lockdown.

The rise in illegal dumping coincides with a major increase in the amount of bottles and cans deposited at the bring banks over the last two months. The council estimates that there was an 80 per cent increase last month and 30 per cent in March.

Speaking at the recent meeting of the council's Strategic Policy Committee on the Environment, Climate Action,Water and Emergency, which was held using teleconferencing technology, environmental awareness officer Ruth Maxwell informed members that over €13,000 had been secured from central government for CCTV cameras at bring banks.

The news was welcomed by Cllr Hazel Smyth, who said that it was "awful to see so many bags of rubbish beside the bring banks".

She also said that she had written to the Data Protection Commissioner to ascertain whether people convicted of illegal dumping could be named and shamed by the local authority.

She said that it was clear that there is a need for more enforcement to deter illegal dumpers.

Council official Jonathan Deane told members that the council is seeking legal advice about whether dashcam footage of suspected illegal dumping can be used in court.

Speaking last month, Mr Deane urged the public to bring home their recyclables if their local bring bank is full.

"We are asking people to bring their recyclables home with them if they visit a bring centre and find that it is full and wait until the banks have been emptied. We are also asking people not to leave their recyclables, boxes, bags or containers at the bring banks – the majority of people use the bring centres correctly and while some may think that there is nothing wrong with leaving recyclables or empty containers behind at the bring centres it is a littering offence and a fine of €150 applies.”

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