Technology central to Kerry plan to tackle dumping

Technology will be central to a five-year plan adopted in Kerry to target “the persistent” problem of litter with smart phone apps, mobile cameras and CCTV all being deployed to stop illegal dumping.

Killarney town council is to get tough on littering and hopes technology will be key to clamping down on a “persistent problem” that “can drag an entire area down”.

GIS — Geographic Information System — is to be used to create a database of litter black spots and then information from technology such as smart phone apps for litter wardens as well as mobile cameras and fixed CCTV around known dumping sites in green areas in Killarney will be fed into the system.

While people were aware of the blight caused by litter in a county dependent on tourism — the litter management plan before the public for months in Co Kerry received only two responses.

One of the responses suggested that petrol stations and coffee outlets will be asked to incentivise people to re-use the cups as well as “giving people free funky reusable coffee cups” or switch to biodegradable cups.

Killarney councillor and volunteer litter picker on the N22 Michael Gleeson said “litter can drag an entire area down” and the council had to take action against the dumping of waste in housing estates in towns by installing cameras.

A “suitable” smart phone app is being sourced to protect lone litter wardens and allow the county’s three full-time and 11 part-time wardens to better report and monitor litter and illegal dumping. The app will link up with fixed CCTV and new mobile cameras will be in place by December next.

The mobile cameras will be used in urban areas as well as remote bogs and should see an increase in fines as well as reduce the mounting problem of illegal dumping in beauty spots, the council heard.

Of 634 investigations into illegal dumping and littering last year, there were just 17 prosecutions and nine of these resulted in a conviction. In addition only 19 of the 66 on-the-spot fines issued in Kerry were actually paid.

Three “Kerry Clean Days” over the last three years saw thousands of volunteers net 128 tonnes of waste, with local waste company KWD disposing of the material, the plan said.

Meanwhile, John Breen the council’s most senior environmental official, warned about the growing problem of builders’ rubble being left on roadsides. He has also warned that a mechanism will have to be found, by the council, to tackle the storage of domestic refuse in attics, back gardens and spare rooms in some local authority houses.

“There is a direct correlation between waste and the economy. Construction waste is increasing on the roadside — it needs to be brought home that this is waste and it needs to go to a licensed waste facility,” Mr Breen said.

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