EVERY now and then, the press reports on local councils agonising over what to do to stop the proliferation of unlicensed advertisements that are put up or pasted in public places such as walls, lamp posts and even on trees.
Among the steps taken by these councils to address the problem is to employ contractors to take down or remove the advertisements. Removing the advertisements, especially those that are pasted or glued on, is not only a tedious process but is also costly for the councils.
I cannot understand why this hand-wringing and agonising search for an effective deterrent should go on when the answer is staring them right in the face.
I am not a lawyer but I would be correct to think that the councils, with their right to impose regulations and rules relating to virtually every aspect of life in their areas of jurisdiction, could look into amending the existing regulations requiring would-be advertisers to obtain licences from them prior to putting up advertising posters or boards.
The amendment should regulate that if any advertisements were put up illegally, the owners of the phone numbers stated in them, and these are usually unlicensed moneylenders and house agents, should be presumed to be responsible for those advertisements and be charged for breaching the licensing regulations.
Even if in the virtually impossible event that they are able to establish in court that they are somehow innocent, the fact that such persons are actually taken to court would be the deterrent the councils have been looking for.
The sooner the local councils act on this, the better for everyone and we will no longer have to bear with the eyesore created by these illegal advertisements.