Council may use cameras to catch recycling cheats
A Wellington city councillor has slammed plans to use cameras to catch people dumping rubbish as 'a total waste of ratepayers' money'.
Security cameras are likely to be installed to catch people dumping rubbish as frustration grows about blatant flouting of Wellington's recycling system.
Supplies of green bags could also be restricted for residents in the worst areas, unless they can prove they intend to recycle.
Councillor Paul Eagle called the possibility of cameras "absurd and a total waste of ratepayers' money".
Streets in Newtown, Te Aro and Oriental Bay have been labelled among the worst offenders for bad recycling habits after city council officers did an audit to try to highlight problem "hot spots".
Eagle said the council was resorting to 'bullying' tactics.
"Newtown is home to an array of diverse communities, many vulnerable and on fixed incomes and resettled ethnic families where English is somewhat limited. Let's get out there and educate them with some face-to-face help. Something has gone horribly wrong when the council feels it needs to resort to bullying communities by proposing the use of cameras."
THE WORST SPOTS
- All of Aro Valley
- Aro Street Park
- Aro St, Devon St
- Kelburn Parade
- Fairlie Tce
- all of The Terrace
- Oriental Parade
- Hay St
- Oriental Tce
- Thompson St
- Tasman St
- Hanson St
- Wallace St
- Riddiford St
Aro St resident Jade Evans, 31, said he was annoyed at the amount of rubbish dumped outside his property.
Mattresses and an old television had been left in front of his garage a few nights ago and he was unsure what to do about it. "It's not mine. I don't want rubbish by my house."
The work identified the areas most likely to ignore recycling rules by filling green recycling bags with rubbish and leaving them on the side of the road until council officers were forced to pick them up.
Typically, officers will put stickers on bags that are inappropriately used, and a special truck will pick them up within a few days if they are not removed.
But in areas including all of the Aro Valley, The Terrace and Oriental Parade, officers weren't even waiting to go back and collect bags any more and were automatically sending the truck once a week, CitiOperations operational risk manager Zac Jordan said.
"Otherwise the residents would be tripping over it."
The council was now looking at steps to catch the culprits. Refuse was searched for any identifying information, but most were careful not to include anything with an address, he said.
The council was looking at the way bags were issued. Issuing bags to the owner rather than the tenant, or limiting which households were given the bags - unless they could prove they were planning to recycle - were being considered, Mr Jordan said.
"Almost as if they apply for them."
Security cameras in the worst hot spots were also being "seriously considered" to help identify the most prolific offenders, he said.
"This is abuse of Wellington's system, using it as a cheap rubbish disposal method." Anyone caught would receive a $400 fine.
Recycling volumes have grown about 10 per cent in the past year since a new fortnightly collection system was introduced, where households put glass out one week, and general recycling in either a green bag or wheelie bin the next.
Under the new system, about $1 million more is being earned a year from the sale of recycling.
But while the glass and wheelie bins are virtually contamination-free, bags have continued to be a problem.
In May, the council resorted to auditing recycling coming in, to see where the worst examples were originating from.
Mr Jordan said The Terrace was particularly bad.
"This area is terrible. Every week we have to take our small refuse trucks and fill them with the contamination left in recyclable bags."
"Transient residents" caused most problems. They were hard to pin down, leaving permanent residents frustrated.
Neighbours of Aro Park - which fly-tippers used as a makeshift landfill - were offering to carry rubbish to the street to help keep the area cleaner, while in Aro St, residents at No 146 had allowed a "no littering" sign to be put up after their kerbside became a popular dumping spot.
Rubbish lined the area underneath the sign yesterday.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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