Fines need to be increased and a community warden is needed in each Municipal District if the Council is to successfully target those littering our county according say local councillors.
The March meeting of Leitrim County Council was informed that there are presently two community wardens serving the county.
However, presenting the latest report on litter in the county, Director of Service, Joseph Gilhooly said that figures for 2015 rated nearly 90% of the county as either unpolluted or slightly polluted.
While figures are not yet available for 2016 Mr Gilhooly acknowledged dealing with litter and illegal dumping is “an ongoing challenge” for the local authority.
Last year Leitrim carried out litter surveys at 12 locations across the county, three in the Manorhamilton Municipal District; four in Ballinamore and five in Carrick-on-Shannon Municipal District .
Temporary CCTV monitoring was also carried out at various locations in Ballinamore, Carrick-on-Shannon, Cloone, Gortletteragh and Mohill over July and August last year. This resulted in 55 fines being issued to alleged offenders. A further programme of CCTV coupled with Audio Devices was rolled out over the Christmas period.
Cllr Padraig Fallon said he was concerned that the current budget allocation for dealing with littering and illegal dumping, “was simply not sufficient”.
“We need to see more community wardens in place. We only have two at the minute and I believe they are struggling to deal with the amount of work they are facing,” he said.
Cllrs Sean McDermott and Seadhna Logan agreed more resources were needed with Cllr Justin Warnock calling for wardens to be put in place in north Leitrim. Cllr Caillian Ellis said that the pressure on current services was such that when Fenagh residents had recently contacted the Council about dumping they were told there was no warden available to remove it. “Something is wrong some place if that is the case,” he said.
Cllr Sean McGowan also backed calls for more wardens noting that increased prosecutions were the only way to discourage ongoing littering in the county, while Cllr Finola Armstrong - McGuire highlighted the growing issue of chewing gum litter.
Cllr Sinead Guckian put forward a proposal calling for the Minister to allow the Council to apply steeper fines to stop offenders which was unanimously backed.
Cathaoirleach, Cllr Mary Bohan took the opportunity to thank local volunteers for their work to clean up their local areas, before appealing to everyone to dispose of litter properly.