Roadside littering continues to be a major problem in Co Leitrim despite greater education on litter management according to figures for 2011.
Although illegal dumping at bring bank centres dropped significantly last year, largely due to the increase in camera surveillance used to detect those dumping, roadside littering is continuing to prove problematic throughout the county.
“The issue of litter along our roadsides is a major issue. The difficulty with regard to litter is the inability to detect the culprits,” said Director of Services, Environment, Emergency and Cultural Services, Martin Dolan when he presented the County’s Litter Management Plant report for 2011 at the recent Council meeting.
“There are technological difficulties with monitoring of littering activities in the countryside given that (littering) now tends to be so random.”
According to the latest figures released by the Council there were 23 complaints relating to litter recorded in 2011, down slightly from levels in 2010. 77 litter fines were issued in 2011 down significantly on the 317 fines issued in 2010, however it was noted this reduction was down to “very little misuse of the bring bank network following the 2010 cctv campaign”.
The Director of Services did note there that there were some major achievements in environmental anti-litter initiatives in 2011. Twelve of our schools were awarded Green Flags in 2011. There was good news for 14 anti litter projects last year which recieved a share of funding to the value of €19,000 in 2011. The Adopt a Road and Adopt a Bring Bank programme also proved successful with major inroads recorded in areas using these initiatives.
Concerns were, however, raised over the future policing of litter problems. According to the latest figures the number of community wardens operating in Co Leitrim has fallen from three in 2011 to just two. This follows the reduction of the number of waste enforcement officers working in Leitrim County Council from two in June 2009 to just one “due to the economic climate”.
This means that these staff will be under increased pressure to monitor an ever growing workload of which the management and enforcement of litter remains a huge component, acknowledged the Director of Service.
“A change in the behavioural culture towards littering is clearly required and I believe this can be achieved through the “carrot and stick approach”, of education, awareness and enforcement,” said Mr Dolan.