The use of covert cameras is to be extended to more illegal dumping blackspots in Kerry in the hope of providing conviction-securing evidence.
A CCTV surveillance system has recently been trialled by Kerry County Council at remote dumping sites and early indications are positive, according to the council.
The number of cameras at blackspots will be increased from two to four, with a further three cameras to be placed at the bottle bank network.
In 2013, Kerry County Council investigated 419 cases of illegal dumping. While 75 on-the-spot fines were issued, there was only one successful prosecution in court.
It is hoped the cameras will provide the evidence need to convict culprits who are becoming increasingly difficult to catch in the act. The maximum fine under the Litter Act is €3,000.
Litter wardens are faced with the task of sifting through bags of rubbish in an effort to find clues providing documentary proof, such as addressed envelopes of people doing the dumping.
Environmental awareness officer Michael O Coileain yesterday said while dumpers were becoming “more discreet’’, it is hoped the cameras will provide good visual evidence.
“The new battery-operated cameras are very efficient and they are proving effective, but it’s amazing the lengths to which some people go to dump illegally,’’ he said.
“It costs just €3 to dispose of a bag of rubbish, yet some people will drive further than their nearest recycling centre to dump stuff illegally, after taking great trouble before they leave home to ensure they leave no clues in the rubbish.’’
Favourite dumping areas include some well-known beauty spots, bogs, forests, parks, and disused quarries, while people also throw rubbish in over bridges.
Killarney independent councillor Brendan Cronin, who has been highlighting the problem, called on members of the public to report offenders.
“As cute and all as they think they are, they can sometimes leave clues in the rubbish. I know of one case in which the address on a medical prescription bottle provided the evidence,’’ he said. “There’s an increasing incidence of this type of dumping of household rubbish on quiet, rural roads and it really has to be stamped out.
“People who do it have no sense of shame and are undoing a lot of good work by others who are trying to keep the countryside clean. Dumping is also damaging our tourist industry as these people don’t care where they throw their stuff.’’
A new litter plan was drawn up last year to combat the problem.
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