A SIPTU representative has said that a major overhaul of how waste services are operated rather than investment in gimmicks such as aerial drones is the way to solve the growing problems concerning waste disposal in Ireland. SIPTU Public Administration and Community Division Organiser, Adrian Kane, said: “The Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Richard Bruton, has said that €3 million is to be made available to the Anti-Dumping Initiative this year. This includes funding being made available for the purchase and operation of drones to survey and identify people who are dumping illegally. “This spending money ‘after the fact’ on cleaning up illegal dumping is a misuse of resources as it fails to address the structural flaws within the waste market, namely, that 23% of all households in the Republic have no domestic waste service. The monies would be much better spent on introducing a national waiver system for impoverished families who cannot afford a domestic waste service and restructuring the market to allow for local authorities to start collecting household waste again. “The Fine Gael obsession with free market solutions has led to a dysfunctional domestic waste service in this country. A recent Competition and Consumer Protection Commission report into the operation of the domestic waste service concluded that Ireland was now the only country in Europe to have ‘side by side’ competition, that is multiple waste collection services operating within a single municipal area. “This results in our streets being needlessly blocked up every morning with multiples of the number of waste collection trucks than are actually needed. It is also adding considerably to our carbon emissions at a time when we are failing to meet our targets under the Paris Agreement.” He added: “Last week, SIPTU, Connect and Fórsa launched the ‘More Power To’ campaign which will be organising public meetings around the country in the coming weeks. At these meetings local election candidates will be asked to sign a pledge calling for reform of domestic waste services. “Such reform would include the elimination of side by side competition in the waste market and that local authorities could once again operate bin collection services. Both these developments would make a real impact on ending illegal dumping.”