Local authorities will soon be given powers to use closed-circuit television (CCTV), and other technologies, to tackle illegal dumping and littering.

The Circular Economy Bill, brought before the Dáil today (Wednesday, March 30) will make this possible, while ensuring that robust data-protection safeguards are in place.

To date, local authorities’ ability to use CCTV to identify and target offenders has been restricted due to data-protection regulations.

Minister of State with responsibility for Communications and Circular Economy, Ossian Smyth, explained that local authorities must be empowered to enforce their waste-management responsibilities.

Image source: Bernie Commins

“While only a minority of citizens illegally dump or burn their waste, the impact of litter and fly-tipped waste on the environment, and often our most beautiful locations, is a blight on our communities,” he said.

“We need to empower local authorities, who are responsible for waste management and enforcement, to target these practices and penalise those responsible.”

Key components of the bill to tackle illegal dumping:

  • Incentivising the use of reusable and recyclable alternatives to a range of wasteful single-use disposable packaging and other items such as single-use coffee cups;
  • Introducing prohibitions on exploration for, and extraction of, coal, lignite and oil shale;
  • Redesignating the existing environment fund as a circular economy fund, which will remain ringfenced to provide support for environmental and circular economy projects.

The Circular Economy Bill 2022 will bring in a suite of measures that puts into law many of the commitments contained in the Waste Action Plan for a Circular Economy, and last year’s Whole-of-Government Circular Economy Strategy.

Image source: Bernie Commins

The transition to a circular economy represents a shift away from the linear ‘take, make and waste’ model, which relies on a steady supply of natural resources to create products and packaging. It also has the potential to create sustainable growth and jobs.