MORE than half the households in County Limerick now have no refuse collection service, despite the introduction of new bye-laws in January according to a report released by the county council.
And the council believes this is linked to the high incidence of illegal dumping throughout the county. The report describes the county’s litter problem as a “blight” which is contributing to a negative image of the county and calls for an awakening of duty and civic pride amongst all sectors of society.
“Put simply, individuals need to take personal responsibility for the litter/waste they generate and dispose of or recycle it appropriately,” the report states.
The problem is also an expensive one. Last year, litter management cost the council over €600,000 while street-cleaning clocked up almost €1m and waste regulations, monitoring and enforcement racked up a bill of over €700,000.
“It is regrettable in this period of limited resources that the council is still forced to allocate such large sums to investigating litter incidents and removing the waste created by indifferent citizens, when such funds could be put to better use for other services,” the report points out.
Meanwhile, the council’s environment section is dealing with over 30 pollution complaints a week– and these range from illegal dumping and abandoned vehicles to water pollution and public health nuisance.
New bye-laws came into force in January which obliged all households and commercial businesses to enter into a contract with an authorised refuse collector.
But despite this, the report says less than 50% of households have done so. “As there is a high incidence of illegal dumping throughout the county, there would appear to be a link between these two matters.”
During 2011, 47 legal cases had been initiated and 400 warning letters had been sent, the report continued, and 231 on-the-spot fines had been issued.
Four road check-points had been carried out to identify illegal waste collectors.