The illegal dumping at the Pontoon, in Midleton has been met with frustration and disappointment from local residents.
The Pontoon leads from the junction of Coolbawn Court and the Bailick Road to Riversfield Estate and is often the site of illegal dumping for items such as plastic bottle ranging in size up to two-litres, cans of alcohol, paper cups and most recently a mattress.
“I was using it as a shortcut to town,” said one resident. “It is in a desperate situation at the moment. There is lots and lots of rubbish. People have thrown away loads of bottles, cans, general rubbish, McDonald’s wrappers and even a mattress. I have never noticed it in that state before. The bridge is in a very bad state as well. Every Spring Tidy Towns clean it up but something has to be done to prevent people from dumping there like that.”
John Mangan of Midleton Tidy Towns said: “Littering shouldn’t happen but it is a culture that exists. People should be more aware of the impact of it. We come across tin cans etc. and a lot of washed-in debris and flotsam and jetsam [at the Pontoon], but it’s very hard to see a mattress just washing up there.”
The Midleton Town Council is not responsible for such issues as firstly the Pontoon is private property and as such is not cleaned by the Town Council and secondly control of litter and waste management are matters for the Environment Department of Cork County Council.
The Waste Regulation Section of Cork County Council’s Environment Department is involved in the provision of a number of key local authority services in the County with its core functions being the regulation of waste related activities and waste enforcement.
“There is only so much that Tidy Towns can do,” said Mr Mangan. “Cork County Council have a litter hotline. Sometimes they are good and sometimes not so good. They recently held a meeting with various Tidy towns groups and said it they came across fly tipping etc. then they should get them on it. With regards Japanese Knotweed [an invasive species of plant] It looks like Cork County Council in recent times has turned a corner and hopefully they will do the same with litter.”
The economic downturn that occurred around 2008 saw a 10% reduction in public service employment, which caused a decrease in occupations such as traffic and litter wardens. The 2015 budget ended the moratorium on recruiting civil service staff.
But Mr Mangan doesn’t think that a litter warden would make a difference.
“We need more than someone walking around,” said Mr Mangan. “Residents need to be more aware and to report it to the Cork County Council litter hotline. You can’t clean up every cigarette butt because as soon as you do someone drops another. It’s disheartening to see people spreading bags of litter across the road but it is up to every individual to take ownership of their space, to clean as they go, and to report instances of littering to proper authorities.”
All Litter and Waste Complaints can be reported to 021 428 5417 or by email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.