Illegal dumping and dog fouling remain major issues

Illegal dumping and dog fouling were again topics of conversation at March’s meeting of Athlone Municipal District.

The discussion arose after a presentation of a Draft Litter Management Plan, which detailed Westmeath County Council’s approach to litter for the next two years.

After hearing that littering and dog fouling remain issues, councillors identified the lack of enforcement as an ongoing issue.

“We can have all the laws and plans, but if there’s a law not being enforced then what’s the point?” Mayor John Dolan (FG ) said about littering. He said asking people to keep their refuse receipts may be a way to clamp down on illegal dumping.

On dog fouling, Fianna Fáil’s Aengus O’Rourke was critical of the fact that the phone number for reporting those who flout the law is not advertised sufficiently well. He asked: “Does anybody here even know it?”

Independent councillor Michael O’Brien suggested that hiring a second warden would have a positive impact.

Director of services Barry Kehoe said littering and fouling are an issue for every district, but that said, the employment of an additional warden to tackle the latter may not be the best use of the council’s resources.

He suggested the only real means of solving littering issues is to allow people to pay for their rubbish through taxation. This, he said, would remove the need and temptation for people to dump.

The council’s Draft Litter Management Plan will go to public consultation in the near future.

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