As you know, all of us who live in the inner-city have had a major issue with the dumping of rubbish in our areas. BLEND Residents’ Association, with support from several local businesses, embarked on a campaign to try and halt this ever-growing problem. Our residents’ association area is quite small (under 150 households) and this allowed us to make contact everyone.The results might be of interest to those in other inner-city areas who have the same uphill struggle.
We were offered the use of a free CCTV camera from a gent at camba.tv and it proved to be the fillip for an entire campaign. Our first step was to fly leaflet every household, with information as to what constituted dumping (bags on wrong day, no tags, food thrown in street etc), speaking to people on the doorstep and telling them we were putting up cameras while handing them the leaflet – no mistakes about rubbish from now on – right! That immediately had an effect overall, which led us to believe that some of it was just that people who didn’t think or didn’t know.
We caught one person quite soon and the image was blurred (for data protection reasons) and used as a poster with time/date information left on it (so the person who did it knew that we knew etc) and a humorous slogan was placed underneath the image. This was then posted up at the dumping spots.
We had flyers made of the other images of our local dumpers as they came forward (not believing we had a camera) and these are to go through letter boxes. In the meantime all the images and videos from the CCTV (such as the one above) were posted on DublinLitterBlog, where they’ll remain publicly available for ever. As we needed slogans for the flyers we texted around asking for suggestions.
It was the funniest weekend, and was the stroke that really engaged people in the campaign. Some we couldn’t use (though we would have liked to!) but in the end we chose three and they’re about to go out. This part really engaged locals as we texted around asking for suggestions. They were terrific, funny, rude, (which we would have liked to use, but didn’t), but above all loads of people took part and it brought the rubbish issue right to the fore.
When the flyers were printed (and a local printer did them for nothing as his contribution!), we made a point of putting the appropriate flyer through all the doors around the street where we knew the people lived. Their image was recognisable to neighbours and friends – a quiet name and shame. And it worked.
The thinking was that despite the images being blurred the people who dump will recognise themselves, and so possibly will a neighbour or two who pay for their rubbish. Meanwhile DCC have assisted us by calling on a few household to ask them to show how their rubbish is disposed of (barcodes/tag receipts etc.) That resulted in a number of fines.
These last weeks our problem has been with the bin company’s non-collection, with a variety of excuses given. Something we didn’t need after the campaign !
It hasn’t solved everything, but the upshot of the camera and the use of images has been a considerable falling off of dumped bags in the area and most importantly, a huge engagement by local people. BUT we know that we cannot let up and will have to dream up another campaign in the coming weeks in order to keep the initiative going. We’re texting around now for suggestions amongst locals and think the next way may be focused on ‘adopt a street’, or something similar for the summer.
We’d love to know if any other residents’ associations have had some successes, even very small ones, because they all count for quite a lot in motivating people towards feeling a sense of responsibility for an area. We love living in the inner-city, but don’t want to be walking through trashy, garbage-strewn streets when we have visitors, or family staying, or when we’re leaving for work each day. We’re entitled to live in a clean environment – let’s not forget.
With thanks to PC @ BLEND
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