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Litter under the spotlight

Wednesday, 14th October, 2020 2:35pm

A motion calling for waste management services to be back under public ownership and control was shot down this week.

During Monday’s Cork City Council meeting, the motion from Workers’ Party Cllr Ted Tynan asked that the Government “commence the process to take waste management services back under public ownership and control, using the local government infrastructure such as Cork City Council, and that this is funded from general taxation”.

He claimed that when Cork City Council looked after waste management that there was less littering and fly tipping.

However, this didn’t sit well with Fine Gael Cllr Des Cahill who opposed the motion. He described it as a “myth” and “nonsense” that fly tipping and illegal dumping started when refuse collection in the city was privatised. He said it was an “enormous cost” for City Hall.

Fianna Fáil’s Terry Shannon said that a “proper and informed” debate was needed on the topic as he recalled how the service was abused when City Hall was running it.

“We had 24,000 subscribers and of those 12,000 had a waiver of some kind. The first thing we had to do at budget time every year was find €4m to pay for those waivers.”

He said he knew people at the time who had a full waiver and other people were putting their rubbish into their bins which meant that several households were getting their rubbish collected for free.

Cllr Cahill called for a vote on the motion which was defeated with 12 votes for and 16 against.

Meanwhile, Monday saw the publication of the latest litter report, the first nationwide litter survey by business group Irish Business Against Litter (IBAL) since the Covid-19 crisis. Fermoy and Cork city were again ‘clean’, and Mahon was deemed ‘moderately littered’ but the area has risen seven places in the ranking of 40 areas across the country. Cork’s northside remains ’littered’ towards the foot of the table.

An Taisce, who carried out the report, said there was an excellent performance by Fermoy, with seven of the ten sites surveyed receiving the top litter grade. The one blip is the recycle facility at the Mart which An Taisce said was a poor site in 2019 and remains so.

The report for Cork city said: “The South Mall was looking the best the surveyor had ever seen, Shandon Historical Quarter was very well presented and maintained, St Patrick’s Street was exceptionally freshly presented, the waterside environment of The Lough was a lovely natural setting which was well respected and maintained.

“Barrack Street was looking very well following significant investment in urban renewal, The Crow’s Nest has transformed from a derelict site to a spotless building site in 2020 and the most heavily littered sites were St Patrick’s Quay and Carmelite Place/Western Road.”

The report said that Mahon had seen some progress since last year, like St Michael’s Cemetery carpark and The Maples, though these sites were still somewhat littered.

The overall impression at Avenue de Rennes remains a littered one. Examples of top ranking sites included The Crescent, Long Shore Drive and Joe McHugh Park.

“By far the most heavily littered site was the open green space, off Ringmahon Road. There was little change in the litter status since last year. There were no litter blackspots,” the report said.

The report for Cork’s northside said there were two litter-free sites out of a total of 25 surveyed.

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