A Question of the Nature of Things
Seven Swansea residents have been fined for putting their rubbish out before seven p.m. on the day before the dustmen were due to come around. Some 300 others have been issued with warning notices.
The fines have ranged from £75-100 to £300 and the offence alleged by the council is littering. Although, significantly, the reason why the bin-bagged refuse became litter is given as assaults by animals on the bags -- which brings up an issue of responsibility.
It would appear self-evident that if anyone is fined, it should be the owners of the animals which are vandalizing the bin bags. Or the Swansea Hunt for not doing its job properly, if urban foxes are blamed.
Other candidates for a fines would be the members of the city council, which failed to deliver a proper refuse service, under which the dustmen removed bags from residents' premises, and which required residents to put their rubbish bags out on the pavement, where they are exposed to assaults by wild animals.
What we'd really like to know is which genius decided that refuse becomes litter before 7 p.m. on the day before collection. And whether the local bin bag-chomping animals have been informed of the deadline.
We'd also be interested to find out how much Swansea council spends on its refuse police, who look for people who put their bin bags out early, and whether the council's customers think that the money would be better spent on a proper refuse collection service.
We're now waiting to see what happens when someone challenges the council's refuse police and denies responsibility for the crime with which they are accused.