Lack of manners and cop-on fuels illegal littering, says councillor

'There is a lack of civic spirit in our society if people think they can do this and not give a thought about anyone else or the environment'

A basic lack of manners and an absence of cop-on is what drives people to think they can open their car windows and throw out litter on the roads and ditches of the county, this week’s meeting of the Galway County Council Joint Policing Committee was told.

During a long debate on the issue of littering and the potential use of CCTV cameras to catch illegal dumpers, one councillor said that what was causing all of this was an abandonment of civic spirit.

“There is a lack of civic spirit in our society if people think they can do this and not give a thought about anyone else, or the environment,” said Cllr Gerry king.

“It shows that if people think they can open their windows and throw their takeaway wrappers and bags out the window and onto the roadway, that there is a basic lack of cop-on and manners,” he said. We can bring in all the CCTV cameras we like, but the simple truth is that there is an onus on people to be responsible for their actions,” he said.

'CCTV on its own is not the answer'

He was supported by Cllr James Charity, who said that CCTV on its own is not the answer and that there must be extra supports put in place.

“I had one local group who carried out a clean-up and came to me to see if there was a council facility where they could put the stuff. And when they went back to the spot they cleaned a few hours later, there were more takeaway wrappers strewn along the roadway,” he said, asking for litter pickers to be employed by the Council.

Cllr Gerry Larkin said that there should be a depot in each electoral area where people could bring their waste for a small fee, while Cllr Karey McHugh felt that while it was bad enough that there is dumping on public lands, in many cases, the litter is thrown into farmland,” she said.

Bottle banks

Cllr McHugh said that Ireland is lucky to have so much overgrowth as this hides the real truth of illegal dumping in this country.

"In many arid countries where there is less cover, you can see the same problem with strewn rubbish along the roadsides. It is a blessing that Ireland has so much overgrowth to hide the ugly truth about littering,” she said.

Cllr Andrew Reddington said that there should be signs at the bottle banks with details of who to contact if the banks are overflowing. This was an issue last year during the lockdown, but Council Environment official Ann Dolan said that there are already signs there with details, but that she will look to see if these can be amended and improved.


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