Council spends €1,000 a kilometre to clean up Waterford tourist route

A councillor is pleading with the public to “act responsibly” and not litter, after a local authority spent €18,000 clearing an 18km stretch of road.

Waterford’s Cllr Liam Brazil said the cost to the council was “outrageous” and he said he wanted all litter offenders prosecuted.

The clean-up on the R680, between Kilmeaden and Carrick-on-Suir, took workers nine days.

Last year, the council spent €10,000 cleaning the same route, which lies close to the much-visited Comeragh Mountains.

The operation accounted for 25% of the council’s 2016 roads budget, district engineer, Eamon Lonergan, told the council’s Comeragh District Committee.

Mr Lonergan said that while the R680 clean-up involved “an absolutely horrific amount of rubbish”, the location, on an extremely busy road, excluded voluntary groups from participating, because of health-and-safety.

It also greatly increased the cost, as traffic-management measures had to be implemented, he said.

“Further, indirect costs were incurred, through pulling operatives and skilled labourers off other jobs.”

The litter largely comprised coffee cups, cartons, food wrappers, cans, bottles and discarded black bags of waste.

Recently, Cllr Brazil, who heads the Comeragh municipal committee, backed a call from Cllr Michael J O’Ryan for a levy on plastic coffee cups, given their increasing presence among litter.

Waterford Council’s director of services for the environment, Fergus Galvin, acknowledged that, by comparison to the recent heavy outlay, clean-ups undertaken in tandem with voluntary groups generally cost about €500, for purchasing materials and disposing of rubbish.

Nonetheless, Mr Gavin said the local authority spends “millions” annually on street-sweeping, litter-picking, collecting, and disposing of illegally dumped rubbish.

Waterford Council no longer operates a waste-collection service, with several private collection firms filling the void, along with bring banks, while civic amenity sites are provided in Dungarvan and Waterford.

Roadside litter remains a major problem across the region.

An analysis showed a recent litter pick, on a 30km stretch of road, produced 500 bags, weighing over 10,000 kilograms, with 10,000 empty crisp bags, 7,500 plastic bottles, and 5,000 disposable coffee cups.

The council is considering installing extra litter-warning signage and CCTV.


Lifestyle

Audrey's been sorting out Cork people for ages.Ask Audrey: C’mere, what’s the story with Chris O’Dowd thinking he’s better than Cork people

So, I put a link to a short story up for my students the other day. The story was by Michael Morpurgo and I was delighted to find an online copy. It can be challenging when you are relying on non-paper texts to teach.Secret diary of an Irish teacher: I love physical books and always will

Celebrated actress Siobhán McSweeney may have found fame starring in a TV series set at the other end of the country, but Cork is never far from her thoughts, writes Ciara McDonnellHome is where the art is for Derry Girls actress

There are literally hundreds of free events on offer this evening for kids and adults on Culture Night. Marjorie Brennan selects the best of them, in Cork and beyondCulture Night: Get out and make the most of it

More From The Irish Examiner