WATERFORD City Council has become the first local authority in Ireland to carry out a survey of unaccounted-for waste.
The survey, funded by the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, is part of an effort to tackle the amount of waste illegally disposed of across the country.
The council will survey households to determine how they dispose of their waste, in the first study of its kind in Ireland.
The council’s environmental awareness officer, Ella Ryan, said: “Unaccounted-for waste is refuse that is not collected at the kerbside through a wheeled bin collection.
“This includes the waste generated by people who do not have access to refuse collection services, as well as those who do not make use of a service that is provided.”
An estimated average of 24% of waste generated in Ireland is uncollected, “so this is a problem that extends much further afield than Waterford City alone”, she said.
Council staff will call to households who have not paid the 2007 fixed charge and who do not have this charge waived to determine how they are disposing of waste.
If the householders are disposing of their waste in an unlawful way, a Section 18 notice will be served on the household under the Waste Management Acts 1995–2003. This notice requires the household to provide details of their method of waste disposal and can be used to secure a prosecution for illegal disposal of waste. If the household fails to respond to this notice, it can lead to a court appearance.
Ms Ryan said: “This pilot survey will help us to identify anyone who is disposing of their waste illegally, and should, therefore, also result in a reduction in the amount of waste illegally disposed of, for example through dumping or burning.
“The survey will also mean that the council can identify those householders who do not make use of the council refuse collection, but who have legitimate and legal means of disposing of their waste.”
Queries about waste disposal can be made to the council’s environmental services department on 051-849563.