What a load of rubbish

by Amy Rohu
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Dublin parks and streets were left covered in litter after the warm weather at the weekend. And there is mounting concern that these unedifying scenes may be repeated as the May bank holiday weekend looms.

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The unprecedented amount of litter strewn across the city has led to local representatives calling for immediate action by the relevant local authorities.

Scores of people also took to social media to share their outrage with images of overflowing bins and piles of rubbish at various spots from the Phoenix Park to Sandymount, Herbert Park, Portobello and along the Royal Canal in Drumcondra were some of the worst littering took place.

Litter at The Grand Canal

Councillor Cllr Colm O’Rourke made an urgent call to Dublin City Council and Waterways Ireland to deal with this on-going issue in North Dublin. Residents near the Royal Canal walkway are upset at the issue only getting worse with the good weather.

 “Some locals, including myself, have had to clean up along the canal because this issue is getting worse, but it shouldn’t have to be like this,” he claimed.

“Everyone has to play their part, and those who create the problem should take care of that mess. More than anything, personal responsibility is required to tackle this issue. This message, though, hasn’t got across for a lot of people, unfortunately,” he emphasised.

Litter in Dun Laoighre

Looking ahead to the summer months he pointed out: “Residents shouldn’t have to put up with this daily, there is a fear among residents that the problem is going to get worse coming up to the summer, especially on weekends. 

Labour Cllr Dermot Lacey highlighted the need for extra bins, adding: “We also need more staff in our parks and we need more personal responsibility at an individual level.”

He paid tribute to the teams of volunteers around the capital who had taken it upon themselves to start the clean up.  “Many in Tidy Towns groups come out week after week to clear the rubbish,” he said.

Litter at Portobello

Sinn Fein councillor Chris Andrews added: “The council need to empty the bins quicker, but we need to ensure shops and off licences do more to clean up around their premises too. They have a certain amount of responsibility for what they sell.”

Virgin Media Weatherman, Deric Ó hArtagáin, has called on the OPW to address the issue in the Phoenix Park with an idea of a volunteer-led group. “We need a collaborative positive approach to tackling the ongoing issue of litter in our parks and on our beaches,” he stated.

“Rather than go down the hardline litter warden & spot fine route; a viable public-friendly option to explore could be the appointment of a group of volunteers on a yearly or six month basis who are designated  ‘Guardians of the Park’ patrolling regularly and visible in marked uniforms especially on busy days or bank holiday weekends. This would act as a littering deterrent but also create social awareness in terms of people’s civic responsibility towards protecting the environment, public spaces and nature.”

Litter in Monkstown

While the good weather has been blamed for the latest spike in littering, this isn’t a new issue. According to a report by business group Irish Business Against Litter published in January of this year, the North Inner City and Ballymun have been struggling with a litter problem since the pandemic began. The report found an increase in litter levels across the country with PPE and coffee cups a problem in particular.

Litter in Herbert Park

Dublin City Council this week took to social media to remind people to “be part of the solution, not the pollution” with a clear message to take home your rubbish this weekend if the bins are full.

Litter in Howth

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