While Labour Local representative for Clondalkin-Rathcoole, Chris O’Dwyer, welcomed that €5 million had been allocated nationally for litter prevention, awareness campaigns and cleaning it’s clear that more will be required, with an outdoor summer underway, action is also still needed on illegal dumping and effective measures to tackle littering, and ensure adequate toilet facilities are available.
O’Dwyer said: “Labour have been calling on communities to be equipped and resourced for an outdoor summer, and in recent weeks we have seen a rise in littering as the weather improves and more people gathering in groups outside. It is essential that enough bins, and outdoor toilet facilities are available at our parks and beauty spots.
“Over the course of the last number of weeks I have been engaging with local residents on this issue and have been calling on South Dublin County Council to increase their interventions with regards to litter and waste management.
“The Minister for Environment is allocating €5 million nationally to tackle littering but this is a drop in the ocean for the problems experienced from the large increase in people socialising outdoors. This is welcome activity and necessary as we continue to fight the pandemic but more will be needed. Labour is also still calling for effective CCTV laws to tackle illegal dumping.
“Lockdown and restrictions have shown us all the beauty of our communities under our nose. We were all disappointed to see the additional litter on our roads, streets, parks, river banks and beaches during the good weather, and the reality is that these areas just need to be better resourced to be ready for our outdoor summer.
“We need to make it easier for people to dispose of their waste after meeting for their outdoor coffees or pints. It’s clear that as more and more people are enjoying the outdoors, we need to fully equip the outdoors with enough bins, particularly in areas like parks or near benches where people tend to meet socially. Public spaces must be made enjoyable and functional to meet the expected increase in demand.
“Volunteers are the lifeblood of our communities and they put in a phenomenal effort to keep everywhere tidy. They do so selflessly for love of their locality, but they shouldn’t have to. We need to equip our communities so that people can enjoy their outdoor summer. I do also want to pay tribute to the massive efforts of Council staff in maintaining our local amenities but it’s clear they are under resourced.
“I would urge everyone to pick up their litter and leave the environment as they found it when enjoying public spaces. People must take pride in the spaces and remember to pack up after they’ve enjoyed the outdoors.