Over €65,000 boost to tackle illegal dumping as €1m already spent on litter in Laois

Michelle Hogan

Reporter:

Michelle Hogan

Over €65,000 boost for illegal dumping while €300,000 spent on litter management in Laois

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Over €65,000 has been pledged to tackle illegal dumping, litter, dog fouling and graffiti in Laois according to Laois TD and Minister for Justice and Equality Charlie Flanagan.

Of this, €47,000 will go directly to tackling illegal dumping while €19,000 is pledged to crack down on litter, dog fouling and graffiti.

However, in 2017, litter management, street cleaning and enforcing waste regulations cost Laois County Council a huge €1 million.

The litter warden service, litter control initiatives, environmental awareness services and service support costs cost €312,000.

Street cleaning which included operating street cleaning services and provision of litter bins cost €370,000 in 2017 while waste regulations, monitoring and enforcement cost €370,000.

A waste management plan in 2017 cost €7000 to prepare but there is no budget for a plan in 2018.

In total, €3.2 million was spent on environment services in Laois in 2017 with a decrease budgeted for 2018 to €2.7 million.

The majority of the budget, around €1.5 million was spent on landfill operations and maintenance. This is set t be reduced to just under €1 million in 2018.

Minister Flanagan said that the €66,700 that has been pledged to illegal dumping and litter management will ‘empower’ people across Laois to take action against those in society who commit criminal acts against their communities by irresponsibly dumping waste.

This new funding has come from the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment’s Anti-Dumping Initiative.

Clean-up projects led by community and environmental groups have been approved for funding including projects in Ballybrittas – Dellgrove, Portarlington, Mountmellick - Forrest Lower - Mountmellick Bogland, Three bogs of Errill-Lismurragha Bog and Portlaoise and Durrow.

The projects include clean-up operations, removing illegal waste from across the county, household bulky waste initiatives and a Dashboard Dining Pilot for Portlaoise and Durrow town.

“Local authorities use this programme to raise awareness and encourage behavioural change to help tackle graffiti and littering of all types, including gum, cigarette butts and dog fouling.

“Dog fouling is perhaps the most intrusive type of litter and a constant source of annoyance for us all on our streets, in our parks posing many public health risks, particularly for children.

“Each local authority is responsible for selecting the suitable awareness projects that receive funding.

“Littering is environmental sabotage but money alone cannot solve our litter problems. It takes a behavioural change across the board and I am confident the awareness campaigns that will be funded through this scheme at a community level in Laois will have a real impact.

“I want to pay tribute to the passion, energy and dedication of local community and voluntary groups, Tidy Towns Groups, schoolchildren and teachers who are taking their civic responsibilities seriously every single day here in Laois through the many anti-litter initiatives that they drive across our communities for the preservation of our environment," Minister Flanagan said.

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