The details were presented at a press conference held on 6th December 2023 by Deputy Mayor of Debrecen Lajos Barcsa, Head of the Public Lands Inspectorate György Lelesz and County Officer of the National Chamber of Agriculture Péter Virág.
Deputy Mayor of Debrecen Lajos Barcsa said that the Municipality of Debrecen decided on the establishment of the field guard service in 2015 on the initiative of farmers, and their operation – guarding the agricultural land belonging to the administrative territory of Debrecen Megyei Jogú Város – started on 1st July 2015. The field guard service was established within the Debrecen Public Area Inspectorate. It is responsible for the protection of the farmland belonging to the administrative territory of the municipality and the protection of the property of crops and products, equipment, tools, livestock, agricultural buildings and land survey signs on or belonging to the farmland. The field officers shall assist in preventing criminal offences and, where necessary, take action to avoid infringements.
He added that the field guards have a public authority role under the relevant legislation and also play an important role in preventing illegal dumping. Lajos Barcsa stressed that illegally dumped waste pollutes the environment and poses serious public health risks. Illegal dumping of municipal and construction waste by roadside, in forests, forest edges, abandoned areas, private property, unfenced public land, municipal public land, and suburban property is a serious problem.
The deputy mayor underlined that the obligation to remove and treat waste dumped or abandoned in uncontrolled conditions is the responsibility of the owner or former holder of the waste. If the owner or former holder of the waste does not voluntarily comply with the obligation, or if the identity of the owner or former holder cannot be established, the obligation is incumbent on the user of the property on whose property the waste was deposited or abandoned.
Lajos Barcsa said that everyone can report abandoned waste in public areas in person, in writing or electronically at email@example.com or by using the WasteRadar waste reporting application. The Debrecen Public Space Inspectorate continuously monitors the cleanliness of public spaces.
The Debrecen Public Lands Inspectorate sends a quarterly report on the work of the field patrols, noting that in 2022, the field patrols took action in more than 400 cases, but according to this year’s reports, the number of reported incidents is approaching 400.
According to Lajos Barcsa, the best measure would be prevention, but various litter picking campaigns (e.g., EDC – “Debrecen should pick…”, Zrínyi Miklós Hunting Association litter picking campaign) help to eliminate illegal waste.
György Lelesz, head of the Debrecen Public Area Inspectorate, said there are currently seven field guards who help out in the winter months by helping to care for the people living in the city’s suburbs and farms. As a way of improving the work of the field police, he said that they could be more effective in catching offenders by tightening up the legal environment and possibly by increasing their powers of action.
Péter Virág, the county representative of the National Chamber of Agriculture, said there were 39 field guard services in the county, of which the Debrecen centre was one of the largest. Regarding resources, he noted that 27 million forints are granted to these 39 field guard services quarterly. This amount will need to be increased in the future. At the same time, their task is to help the field guards in their work and to provide them with a legal environment that will allow them to work even more efficiently.
Source and photo credit: debrecen.hu