Talking bins could warn on litter

Bodycams and talking waste bins could be introduced as part of a crackdown on littering and dog fouling in Co Cork. Cork County Council’s environment directorate is examining the proposals after the suggestions were made by some councillors.

The council’s director of environmental services, Louis Duffy, said the suggestion of issuing litter/traffic wardens with bodycams is being looked at by his department.

It was suggested that the bodycams could be used to get video footage of people littering, and also to prove that some dog owners are letting their dogs foul in public, which is becoming a serious problem in many parts of the county.

Mr Duffy said the Council is examining this and that he will report back to councillors. In a report given by him to members of the council’s western division, Mr Duffy revealed that dog wardens are ramping up an enforcement campaign to cut down on dog fouling and on unlicensed pets.

The number of dogs licensed in the county last year was 37,176, which was up from 32,224 in 2017. The number of warning notices for having an unlicensed dog rose to nearly 3,000, which was up almost 1,000 on 2017.

Prosecutions issued for failing to get a licence or for not cleaning up dog excrement also rose in 2018 to more than 100. Fine Gael councillor Kevin Murphy welcomed the news. He said he is aware of increased activity from the council’s dog wardens.

Mr Murphy said it is difficult to get a prosecution for dog fouling and he maintained that issuing dog wardens with bodycams would help as the video footage could be used in court. Independent councillor Danny Collins raised the issue of litter at civic amenity sites (recycling centres).

He said people are simply dumping stuff at these sites when the receptacles are full and it is very unsightly. Mr Collins said Longford County Council has introduced ‘talking bins’ which warn people that they face a fine for littering if they simply dump stuff next to the full receptacles.

The recording tells people to bring their recyclables home if the containers are full and bring them back when they’ve been emptied. Mr Collins said Longford County Council and tidy town groups in that county have reported that this has proved very successful.

“I’m calling on the council to install an audio anti-litter device on a trial basis at the recycling bins in the Bantry Harbour Car Park,” he said.

I’ve been asked to do this by the local tidy towns group. If it’s successful we would roll them out at recycling centres across the county.

Fine Gael councillor James O’Donovan supported Mr Collins and said that Bantry would be ideal for a pilot project. Meanwhile, there’s been a major increase in recycling at civic amenity sites.

In 2017 the site at Millstreet took in 560 tonnes. This increased to 687.7 tonnes last year. Mr Duffy also gave the example of the site at Youghal where it had gone from 667 to 755 tonnes over the same period.

He said the number of site visits remains the same, but the volume people are recycling has gone up.

Mr Duffy said this could be due to an upturn in the economy. However, he also suggested it could be down to some waste companies now charging by weight for disposing of recyclables.

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