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Fuel checks to catch out lazy city cleaners

STREET cleaners are under the microscope as never before as monitoring by Dublin city chiefs reaches new heights.

With the council's waste management section down by around 300 staff, the local authority has turned to technology to try to bridge the gap.

Fuel consumption, idling times and brush times of street-cleaning vehicles are now being monitored to ensure sweepers are working while on the road.

If less fuel than expected is used, it indicates the vehicle did not travel its full route.

In addition, about 100 of the section's 200 vehicles have been fitted with GPS.

City executive officer Brian Hanney said waste management officers had to operate with reduced resources.

Two years ago, they had 800 staff attached to the department, but the number is down to 500.

Mr Hanney said new technology such as GPS helped to ensure the council is "getting value for money for the vehicle we have on the street" and that the sweepers are "doing what they're supposed to be doing".

It allows an "efficient and cost-effective" street-cleaning schedule to be implemented, Mr Hanney told a council environment committee meeting.

The local authority can check the number of streets swept per day, week and quarter.

GPS reports are used to collect data on average finishing times, idling times during shifts and hours worked.

Council bosses also signed up to a national litter-monitoring system, which uses a litter pollution index.

Streets are ranked in categories one to five, ranging from unpolluted or litter-free to grossly polluted.



Footfall

There are more than 3,500 streets extending 1,200km within the city council area, a land area of 11,496 hectares.

In total, 12,500 tonnes of litter are collected a year.

Every street area has been assigned to a specific zoning category in accordance with the litter management plan.

People can now log on to dublincity.ie to check when their road was last swept and when it is scheduled to be cleaned again.

comurphy@herald.ie