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Council urged to do more to clean up beaches

Cork County Council has been urged to deploy more litter wardens on beaches after sun worshippers left some of them looking like rubbish tips.

In recent weeks, many beaches were turned into eyesores with overflowing bins and litter strewn across the sand.

Council officials have acknowledged their outdoor staff were overstretched when the fine spell struck.

"With a coastline of 1,100km, which is 19% of the State’s coastline, clearly the resources of Cork County Council’s outdoor staff are stretched at this time of exceptionally fine weather," said a spokesman.

Most of the littered beaches are within the council’s southern division administration area, including one at Myrtleville where litter louts were out in force. Declan Daly, assistant county manager with responsibility for that area, said he accepted recent comments from councillors that litter wardens should be targeting these beaches during hot spells.

"There are few things more depressing than seeing people leave their rubbish behind at a public am-enity like our beaches. It’s appalling."

Cllr Kevin Murphy (FG), chairman of the council’s environmental special purposes committee, said it would be discussing the situation in more detail shortly and would try to come up with solutions.

"We only have a handful of litter wardens in the county and just one in the southern division. Clearly we have to increase these numbers. We should also be looking at buying machines like they have in Spain which ‘hoover’ up the litter and smooth the sand."

He said he was "very disappointed" by the actions of people who just simply discarded waste. He said local communities were playing a huge role in maintaining their beaches, but had been fighting an uphill battle.

"There are very active clean up groups in Kinsale and Garrettstown. The tidy towns groups in Kinsale even go out to clean up the beach at Castlepark, near James’ Fort, which was recently littered with broken bottles."

Dr Mary Stack, the council’s environmental officer, said beaches in West Cork fared better. "We have the ‘Leave No Trace’ campaign there and it’s quite successful, especially at Tragumna beach. If there is no bin at a beach or it’s full people should bring their rubbish home with them."