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Ireland's Litter Problem


Ted Maul

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Joined
Feb 5, 2009
Messages
422
What's the story?

I've been travelling widely around the country recently and it's staggering how badly littered the countryside is. Never particularly pristine before but its absolutely dire now. The national primary and secondary routes are particularly bad with flytipping, illegal dumping, local authority debris and so on blighting almost everywhere. Few roads anywhere are unaffected. It's almost like an absurdist art installation mocking the demise of the consumer culture.

The tidy towns, national clean up weeks and many community organisations do good work but these are ad hoc and tend to be highly localised. In any event the scale of the problem appears such that these are only limited in value. Solutions to the problem can hardly be found if the root cause is not addressed.

There's no doubt but that the problem lies foremost with those who litter. But there appears little in the way of deterrent or sanction. Who ever gets caught for flytipping or illegal dumping? Local Authorities appear disinterested or incapable despite having a role in litter management. What exactly do the litter wardens and litter control units actually do?

It's bad enough that the problem exists in the first place but the fact we we fail to recognise it or do anything about it is highly revealing and speaks volumes about who we are.

Although not a political issue per se, I'm curious about this all happening while the Greens are in Government. Have they any policy position or responses on the matter? It'd far more valuable than some of the policy issues the remain pre-occupied with (and much more realistic to achieve).

If we couldn't give a ********************, why should anybody else?
 

CookieMonster

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Joined
Feb 19, 2005
Messages
34,801
It's always been terrible.

Dublin is disgraceful. It's almost impossible to find a litter bin in London City yet the place is generally very clean, in Dublin they are everywhere and it's bloody filthy.
 

hammer

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Jul 6, 2009
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58,514
Because of budget cutbacks to local authorities Dublin City Council have cut back cleaning , sweeping services by 50%

Business rates were cut 2% :) :)
 

neiphin

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Aug 23, 2009
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5,579
anything to do with rubbish collection having been privatised ?
 

charley

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Apr 3, 2009
Messages
1,247
a few years ago around here there was a big clean-up and the rubbish was all piled in black bags on the understanding that the council was coming to collect it, they never did
 

Ted Maul

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Feb 5, 2009
Messages
422
anything to do with rubbish collection having been privatised ?
May be but only in part. It seems much more pervasive than that. The problem seems to be that people are content to dispose of their rubbish in any way they see fit.
 

charley

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Apr 3, 2009
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1,247
illegal dumping is on the increase big time,i can never understand where all the fridges come from,i thought the electrical stores had to take them back for disposal
 

MsAnneThrope

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Apr 8, 2009
Messages
1,818
There's a p.ie thread going back to January 2008 on this issue: “The Filthy Irish”

I'll repeat here exactly what I said in that thread:

There is only one solution and that is to hit the litterers in their pockets. And hard. Nothing else will work. Litter wardens could pay for themselves many times over. Just one day undercover on any major, popular beach in Ireland could reap 4 figures in fines. Money speaks. Fine them. They re-offend? Treble the fine. Re-offend? Ten times the fine. Until the scumbags get the message. And the councils, constantly complaining about being underfunded, can actually make a profit from it. The litter problem is so bad in Ireland that we could easily hire hundreds more litter wardens nationwide, entirely funded by the fines they could easily impose.

Enough of the talking and whinging and complaining. Pressure your local councillors to get the law enforced in your area. Phone him/her today or send a letter or email. Name and shame any offenders you know. If you're not prepared to do this then don't complain. Tell your councillor today you want fines, fines and more fines issued to litterers. Now. And don't let up.
 

Twin Towers

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Oct 14, 2005
Messages
5,885
A big part of the problem in Dublin is flyaway debris from overstuffed green bins. Contracts with operators should not be renewed until they provide lockable bins. Some type of catch mechanism that would open when the bin is fully upended for emptying would suffice. Also shopkeepers should have to provide a bin outside their shop, apparently there is no onus on them to do this.
 

Ted Maul

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Joined
Feb 5, 2009
Messages
422
Lou Reed's song "The Last great American Whale" springs to mind on this issue and much else. Just substiute "Ireland/The Irish" for "America /Americans" and it seems apt

Well Americans don't care for much of anything
land and water the least
And animal life is low on the totem pole
with human life not worth more than infected yeast

Americans don't care too much for beauty
they'll ******************** in a river, dump battery acid in a stream
They'll watch dead rats wash up on the beach
and complain if they can't swim

They say things are done for the majority
don't believe half of what you see and none of what you hear
It's like what my painter friend Donald said to me
"Stick a fork in their ass and turn them over, they're done"
 

ibis

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Joined
Mar 12, 2005
Messages
12,359
The Tidy Towns contest was instituted precisely because of the Irish attitude to litter - but the spread of one-off housing has meant that the population, and hence the litter problem, is more dispersed than it was - while the increase in consumption has meant there's more litter to dispose of.

Of course, it would be handy to know a little more about the issue - such as whether litter is thicker along rural roads near convenience shops and petrol stations (if it is, they can be made partly responsible) - but I dare say that's a frog-counting Greenie sort of exercise...
 

jay_cork

Member
Joined
Feb 10, 2009
Messages
5
I live in Mount Oval Village in Rochestown, Cork. This place is is supposed to be one of the nicer suburbs in Cork.. yeah right! There is not a day goes by that I don't despair at the amount of litter around the area. It's all the more obvious if you walk, run or bike around the Douglas/Rochestown area.

What's more, it's not fly-away litter. It's cans, bottles, crisp bags and crisp wrappers!! I can't tell you how much junk the spoilt little ********************es around here shove back their gobs... mostly purchased from the local Spar shop in Mount Oval. It's a bloody disgrace! To be fair, the parents really are to blame here. What responsible parent could possibly want their child drinking Red Bull like it's OJ and then throwing the wrapper on the ground or in the ditch because they have not been taught simple civic manners. Shame! Shame! Shame!
 

ibis

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Joined
Mar 12, 2005
Messages
12,359
I live in Mount Oval Village in Rochestown, Cork. This place is is supposed to be one of the nicer suburbs in Cork.. yeah right! There is not a day goes by that I don't despair at the amount of litter around the area. It's all the more obvious if you walk, run or bike around the Douglas/Rochestown area.

What's more, it's not fly-away litter. It's cans, bottles, crisp bags and crisp wrappers!! I can't tell you how much junk the spoilt little ********************es around here shove back their gobs... mostly purchased from the local Spar shop in Mount Oval. It's a bloody disgrace! To be fair, the parents really are to blame here. What responsible parent could possibly want their child drinking Red Bull like it's OJ and then throwing the wrapper on the ground or in the ditch because they have not been taught simple civic manners. Shame! Shame! Shame!
Well, an education campaign is one option, a broad enforcement campaign is another, but personally I'd hit the Spar, because they're making money out of the deal, and they stay in the one place, which makes for a more efficient use of Garda resources. I appreciate that's not going to cover the whole problem, but if the convenience shops are litter hot-spots (and I suspect they are*), it will at least cover those. Regular fines equal to or greater than the cost of employing someone to clean up the area should do it.

*I would still prefer to see objective proof of this, obviously.
 

Ecoguy

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Joined
Mar 12, 2009
Messages
393
Plastic bottle menace

Since the plastic bag levy, plastic bottles appear to have become the item of choice for the filthy Irish to toss into every available hedge, river, stream etc. This is despite the fact they are so easily recycled. The amount of plastic bottles left behind next to recently flooded streams in my area is truely shocking


PS: The most depressing aspect of all this is that our youth seem to be some of the worst offenders when it comes to dumping their personal filth far and wide. Whatever their teaching in schools today its certainly not enviromental or basic civic reponsiblity:(
 

jay_cork

Member
Joined
Feb 10, 2009
Messages
5
Well, an education campaign is one option, a broad enforcement campaign is another, but personally I'd hit the Spar, because they're making money out of the deal, and they stay in the one place, which makes for a more efficient use of Garda resources. I appreciate that's not going to cover the whole problem, but if the convenience shops are litter hot-spots (and I suspect they are*), it will at least cover those. Regular fines equal to or greater than the cost of employing someone to clean up the area should do it.

*I would still prefer to see objective proof of this, obviously.
I do appreciate that education is one of the keys to addressing the issue, especially in our youth. But in areas, such as Mount Oval, there seems to be a distinct lack of pride in those that should be educated; the kind of pride that exists in smaller towns. It's almost like peoples' attitudes are 'It's someone else's responsibility'... 'Why do I have to do it?'... Then again, these are the attitudes which are destroying this country!

When I take my dog for a walk I bring a plastic bag and pick all the litter that I can on the route I take, especially all the litter within, say, 200m of my own home. If everyone did likewise, we would be setting an example to the kids around us. When you see litter outside homes for days on end, it speaks volumes about the people who live in those homes.
 

goosebump

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May 23, 2008
Messages
4,953
anything to do with rubbish collection having been privatised ?
What has domestic waste collection got to do with road litter?
 

goosebump

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May 23, 2008
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The answer to our terminal litter problem is actually very simple:

Give litter a value.

People don't throw things away when they have value.
 

goosebump

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Joined
May 23, 2008
Messages
4,953
When I take my dog for a walk I bring a plastic bag and pick all the litter that I can on the route I take, especially all the litter within, say, 200m of my own home. If everyone did likewise, we would be setting an example to the kids around us. When you see litter outside homes for days on end, it speaks volumes about the people who live in those homes.
I do this too.

When I meet people on the road, they start giving out about how terrible the litter problem is, but it never seems to to dawn on them to take a bag with them and pick up whatever is lying around.
 
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