On the 22nd of January, some of those interested in establishing the Citizens Defence Committee conducted surveys in the Ballyfermot area to generate feedback from the public in relation to the Waste Management Relief Initiative (WMRI), and to establish further the feasibility of the project. Although only a small portion of the surveys printed were completed, primarily due to time restraints, valuable information and feedback had been received and generated. The results of the surveys are specific to Ballyfermot and may not apply to other County Councils areas, who we believe have other pricing schemes and waiver mechanisms.
Firstly, in response to the question as to whether “bin charges are a large household expenditure”, it was found that the answer was an overwhelmingly ‘Yes’. 100% of those surveyed, in fact. Three quarters of those surveyed stated that they were unemployed, and with the other quarter being employed full-time. Irrespective of this status, it appears waste charges are perceived as being a high household expenditure. 50% of households surveyed stated that they had four living there, while 25% had three and a further 25% had two.
It was found that for those who specified a household figure for bin charges, that they varied between €5.25 and €3.60 per week per household, or between €21 and €14.40 per month respectively. Annual charges therefore range between €252 and €173.
All households surveyed stated that they recycled much of their waste.
When the initiative was outlined to those being surveyed, approximately 50% stated that they would be interested with the proposed terms of the initiative – that is – that one person from each household would contribute their time to the initiative once every two months. A further 25% stated that while they would agree to the collection for €2 per month, that for various reasons including personal circumstances that they would not be interested in the initiative upon the proposed terms.
From these results – and from the feedback received – it can be concluded that there certainly is interest in this proposal from the general public. Based upon the bin charges stated, the WMRI would certainly be a substantial decrease in the costs for households who signed up. As it stands, the WMRI appears to be feasible. It can be questioned whether that 50%, when it comes to the crunch, would indeed sign up to the initiative proposed, however.
From going door to door with the surveys, we have concluded that this method may not be the best approach to take in order to get households to sign up, for various reasons. So a possible next step will be to approach an already established community group with the idea. It has also become clear that the proposal needs to be ‘marketed’ better – through the use of an information leaflet clearly explaining the initiative, for example.
The WMRI appears, for now, to be feasible. However this must be seen as but the start of many interlinked initiatives which set out to achieve the goals of a Citizens Defence Committee. That is, to get communities working autonomously and cooperatively, and to encourage active participation in left wing political activities and action. To this end, we welcome any suggestions for possible future initiatives which can achieve these aims. All constructive feedback welcome too!
For more information, see the website at http://www.CitizensDefence.wordpress.com
To get involved, contact CitizensDefence@hotmail.com