Republican News · Thursday 27 January 2000

[An Phoblacht]

Rubbish refuse policies

Recent short-sighted efforts to supplement local authority budgets by privatising refuse services and charging householders for collection have caused strikes and provoked angry responses in Drogheda and Wicklow.

Such measures, besides being unpopular and unfair, are also a bar to any serious attack on the problem of waste management.

Landfill sites, which currently take 92% of our waste, are full and are damaging to the environment. We need to reduce waste. Paper and packaging, for example, at present represents 32% of all household waste. It is the producers of all this packaging who are the polluters and who need to pay, not the householders.

What is needed to solve the waste management crisis is re-use, reduction, recycling, composting, and the minimisation of waste for disposal. This can only happen through separated collections of waste at the door. But implementation of waste policy is not of financial interest to profit-dependent private companies.

A serious waste management policy can only be administered by local authorities. Hiking the price of waste collection to the householder is not a waste management strategy; it's only a way of penalising householders for a problem that is not of their making.

Instead of facilitating private companies in holding householders to ransom, the Dublin government should be giving incentives to householders to separate rubbish to encourage waste management.

In 1997, legislation was introduced in the 26 Counties that was supposed to create a waste management strategy of reduction, reuse and recycling. It has failed to deliver the promised outcomes. There is an urgent need for a coherent waste management strategy.

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