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Dublin city council's new rubbish police - a solution or just more bureacratic nonsense?

category ireland / britain | community struggles | opinion / analysis author Wednesday May 15, 2013 19:15author by James McBarron - Workers Solidarity Movement Report this post to the editors

Dublin City Council have new by laws to permit officials to interrogate members of the public as to how they are disposing of their rubbish. When the councils started charging for waste disposal years back numerous people refused to pay, the councils then withdrew their collections and ultimately the service was privatised. At the time of the introduction of a fee for rubbish collection some environmentalists argued it was a good thing that would lead to greater recycling and lower waste production. The councils began charging for recycling also of course.

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Dublin city council's new rubbish police - a solution or just more bureacratic nonsense?


Dublin City Council have new by laws to permit officials to interrogate members of the public as to how they are disposing of their rubbish. When the councils started charging for waste disposal years back numerous people refused to pay, the councils then withdrew their collections and ultimately the service was privatised. At the time of the introduction of a fee for rubbish collection some environmentalists argued it was a good thing that would lead to greater recycling and lower waste production. The councils began charging for recycling also of course. Whilst the campaign against the bin tax ultimately ended in failure, many people for economic reasons simply opted out of the waste disposal system, there was an increase in illegal dumping, using of street litter bins and burning of domestic rubbish.

We ended up with a dirtier environment and more polluted air. Waste volumes varied little as the packaging industry knew it was the consumer who would be paying the price not them. People worked out various other ways of disposing of rubbish, whilst there were still waivers for people on low incomes many shared their bins with others, some people paying shared bins with neighbours or family, others used commercial disposal facilities at their workplaces, as a result the councils noticed that many homes have no official waste disposal facility.

The reason the current by-laws are being introduced, we are told, is illegal dumping in Dublin city. A lack of fireplaces in dwellings in some of the areas affected has closed off that method of disposal, the ending of waiver schemes hasn't helped either, some private rented accommodation has poor or non-existent waste disposal. In the current recession, with reduced incomes and increased stealth taxes, people are selective of what bills take priority. So Dublin city council, which withdrew its bin collections and abandoned those who could not afford the new charges, is now going to start knocking on doors to demand proof of how people get rid of their waste, with the right to impose 75 euro on-the-spot fines!

The funding for the new officials I assume will come from the property tax. This is only happening in Dublin thus far, but may spread as an idea beloved of the sort of out of touch idiots who are at the top of local government. Here is what I think will happen: fines will be imposed and duly ignored by those unable to pay for waste disposal and then added to the vast mountain of unpaid fines currently outstanding in the country. Politicians and officials will go on blaming the poor for the problem and there will be no effort to address the real underlying economic and production issues. People will go on burning and dumping rubbish. The fines will be increased at some point, some tabloid paper will do an expose on a family that hasn't a waste contract etc.

James McBarron

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