The Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment, today, 15th October, 2018, broadly welcomed the Irish Business Against Litter (IBAL) latest survey results which complements the findings of the recently published, more comprehensive, National Litter Pollution Monitoring Survey undertaken each year on behalf of the Department. Both are funded by the Department.
The Department welcomed the results of the litter league which demonstrate that 77% of towns and cities in Ireland which are the focus of the IBAL survey, to be as clean as or cleaner than their European counterparts, and that, there are no litter blackspots.
The Department pointed out that:
"The role of the Department is to provide the legislative framework to enable Local Authorities to deal with the challenge presented by littering. The Department commends the businesses, local authorities and communities who are joined together by pride of place who have seen their hard work achieve a status of being cleaner than European norms. The Department particularly congratulate Fermoy, which received the top ranking in the latest IBAL survey."
The Department acknowledged the particular challenges faced by local authorities in tackling litter in more populous, urban areas, which is the particular focus of the IBAL survey. In particular the survey observed some urban areas that were deemed to be littered and seriously littered – Cork City's Northside, Mahon in Cork, Ballymun in Dublin, Dublin's North Inner City and Ballybane in Galway.
"A single act of littering takes only a moment, but it is not a victimless crime as some perceive to be the case. It impacts on business and on communities. It damages the general perception and reputation of Ireland as a beautiful and clean environment in which to live, or to visit. Items of litter do not simply disappear into thin air – they have to be dealt with and this has a significant cost in terms of time, money, and resources for businesses and for local authorities alike.
It only takes a moment's thought to ensure that no-one can ever label you a "litterbug" – you just have to decide that you will dispose of your litter correctly. That is why the Department emphasise education and prevention as the best approaches to dealing with litter, and that is also why the Department provides funding to foster community partnership initiatives, including an Anti-Litter and Anti-Graffiti awareness grant scheme which made available €885,000 to local groups this year to raise awareness about litter and the problems associated with it, and to try to make the protection of our environment the default mindset in all our citizens, starting with our young people. Penalties will always be necessary, but as a last resort."
"The provision of funding alone does not guarantee a successful outcome in the fight against litter but it does help raise awareness, build community bonds, and ultimately change individual's attitude to littering, which is the ultimate objective."