Litter is a growing problem in county Cork as large numbers continue to gather in popular spots.

Cllr: Litter enforcement ‘not good enough’

“There is a section of society out there that litter awareness campaigns do not reach no matter how much you do it.”

That’s according to Carrigaline Cllr Seamus McGrath (FF) who believes the issue of littering can only be tackled properly through enforcing litter laws and prosecuting those who break them.

He was speaking at a meeting of Cork County Council at which a number of elected members supported his motion calling for increased enforcement and garda involvement on the issue.

His motion comes as beaches and other outdoor amenities around the county continue to see increased numbers of visitors.

Cllr McGrath encouraged outdoor activity in the county but said that it came with a “dark side” in the form of litter.

“It's carried out by a minority of people and that section can only be dealt with through active enforcement of litter laws,” he said. According to Cllr McGrath, the current level of enforcement in Cork county is at a very low level and is “virtually non-existent” at weekends.

“There is virtually no chance of someone being caught or fined or prosecuted for littering. That's not good enough. We will need boots on the ground outside working hours,” he said.

The councillor went on to suggest that Cork County Council work closely with the gardaí and said he would love to see a litter warden patrolling public amenities accompanied by a community guard.

Responding to the councillor’s motion, Niall Healy, Director of Service, Municipal District Operations and Rural Development said Cork County Council already commits significant resources to street cleaning and town presentation.

“This high standard of maintenance and upkeep of open spaces and town centres will be maintained and enhanced this summer. Cork County Council services a total of 958 litter bins across the county. Bins in busy locations are emptied on a daily basis, and in many cases are emptied several times during the day including at weekends. In any given summer day, there are circa 80 council staff deployed to empty bins,” he said.

Under the Litter Pollution Acts 1997-2009, each local authority is given responsibilities regarding litter prevention and control in its functional area.

An on-the-spot fine of €150 can be issued for anyone caught littering, or a fine of €3,000 may be imposed if legal proceedings are initiated against them.