Fifteen per cent of Belfast City Council’s waste management budget is devoted to the cleaning of one tiny section of our city — the Holyland.
As one who used to live there, this comes as no surprise.
The streets are constantly awash with a combination of discarded litter, furniture and builders’ surplus materials. Given that our rates are constantly on the rise, I have a proposal to create more equity on the distribution of this 15% burden and simultaneously provide a positive, learning incentive for waste reduction.
The Holyland is now largely populated by students. This situation was created by ‘Planning’ which functions as a fall guy for a handful of landlords. These landlords in turn satisfy the housing demand of the universities.
This partnership effectively drove out everyone who could leave, including me.
I therefore see no reason why these interconnected groups should not pick up a sizeable portion of this extra cleaning tab.
The students can obviously afford to pay for cleaning the mess they create, given the amount of money they allocate to alcohol and comparatively expensive junk food. It will also help them in their education as they will learn the valuable lesson that ‘the polluter pays’. Presently, they pay no rates at all. The landlords can clearly afford it and as for the universities, they have saved millions by keeping their heads down and avoiding building sufficient housing to satisfy the needs of their student intake.
It’s time for them to step up and accept that they are a major component in this equation.
All in all, I see no losers in this idea and only gain for all concerned. Students will learn lessons in good citizenship and responsible universities will want to take ownership and management of the scheme to ensure that it works. This is in line with their stated policies on generating caring and supporting relationships with the communities on whom they depend.
The net result will be an incentive for less waste. Streets will be cleaner and there will be a saving on rates for us all.
Rate of Inclusion