Crisp, clear images of people who illegally dump have been obtained by Westmeath County Council high definition drone and mobile CCTV footage is being used to target and track down offenders, allowing them to successfully obtain a number of convictions.
Recently, at a meeting, in Westmeath County Council chambers, still images of a woman wearing jogging clothing and a pink body warmer, appear on screen. It formed part of a demonstration to the the Environment, Water and Emergency Services SPC, showing how the latest technology is being used to combat illegal dumping at beauty spots across Westmeath.
Showing stills to the members of the SPC, council official Kieran Jordan reports that the images were produced in high definition and taken at Kilpatrick Bridge in North Westmeath. He explains that the images had to be blurred down several times to protect the woman's identity.
A third image shows two men arriving in the dead of night to dump rubbish. In both cases the Council successfully traced the individuals, applied fines and recouped the cost of removal carried out by Council staff.
Mr Jordan explains that earlier this year Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Denis Naughton tasked local authorities with to use of all methods of modern technologies available “to deal with the scourge of illegal dumping”.
The drones equipped with a high definition camera were demonstrated by private contractor Joe Duffy. The DJI Phantom 4 drone can fly at a height up to 120m the air, at a distance of 500m, and by zooming in, it allows the council to identify dumping hot spots, car registration plates, and the people themselves.
“The environment section have been using drones and we’ve used them very successfully recently in an enforcement case where we gathered evidence that otherwise we would not have been able to obtain. We will continue to use this technology,” continued Mr Jordan.
“This particular incident that I’m showing you today is to show you the power of the drone.