by Gareth Cross
A Derry councillor has called for the community to come together and reclaim their public spaces from illegal dumpers.
The independent councillor Darren O'Reilly made the comments in the wake of the latest spate of dumping in Rosemount, an issue which has plagued the area for a number of years.
In the latest incident numerous bags of rubbish and items including mattresses, plates of glass and sofas were dumped in lanes across the Glen Estate, Glasgow Terrance, Princes Street and Mount Street areas.
Speaking to the Derry News, Cllr O'Reilly said that he was working on a new initiative to try and tackle the issue with a fresh approach.
"It's not just about the dumping, dumping is an issue that keeps rearing its head," he said.
"No matter how many times council or a private landlord clear the rubbish away it keeps coming back.
"We have to be looking at a practical, pragmatic alternative way of how we deal with refuge and dumping."
Cllr O'Reilly also suggested a number of ideas on how to tackle the issue at its root.
“I think a lot of it has to be down to education with school children, council having more information sessions and leaflets, with landlords and engaging with community centres and community agencies to try and promote an environmentally friendly area," he said.
"At the minute people are dumping, it's lifted and it's not tackling the problem at the root.
"Everbody expects council to deal with but it keeps happening. It's not solving the problem."
Cllr O'Reilly added that he had been working with council to develop a new approach to illegal dumping.
"Just clearing back lanes mews isn't dealing with it, people have a responsibility to work with their neighbours and the local community to get a solution that works not just a quick fix," he said.
"I've already had extensive meetings with senior council officers within the cleansing department and I'm in the process of drawing up a proposal for a project involving community engagement with schools around enforcement, awareness and education etc.
"We are looking at a framework to be established to deal with illegal dumping."
He said that some of the dumping was coming from outside the Rosemount area.
"We have went through bin bags in the area in the past and found contents belonging to people from as far away as Strathfoyle," he said.
"First and foremost the responsibility lies with the tenants, council operate a service which takes bulk items.
"If you don't have a bin you can phone up and council will provide a bin for you."
Cllr O'Reilly said that lessons could be learnt from the way other communities deal with the issue of dumping.
"There was brilliant community week held in Strathfoyle recently looking at these kind of environmental issues, with different stakeholders, statutory bodies and funders coming together," he said.
"I think that model would work in the Rosemount area to engage people with the issue. It's about going out and engaging with the community.
"In years gone by these areas would have been used to play in, it's about reclaiming the space for the community.
"We need positive projects to bring these areas back into community use," he concluded.
A spokesperson for Derry City and Strabane District Council explained that it was aware of the issue and is taking the appropriate steps to investigate and then make arrangements for the removal of the indiscriminate dumping.
The council spokesperson added: "It is important to note that majority of these lanes are not adopted, limiting the actions that Council can take,
“However, council will continue to work closely with all the relevant statutory agencies and the local community to find resolutions to the issues around illegal dumping".
"We would remind the public that it is against the law to dump indiscriminately and would appeal to people to act responsibly particularly when areas are shared by a number of households and to avail of the many facilities available to the public at our recycling centres and our free Bulky Waste Collection services.”
"If anyone has any concerns please contact council directly on 02871 253253."
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