One of the country’s leading tourist areas last year saw a 17% rise in the number of illegal dumping cases.
Small-scale dumping remained the same in Kerry, but there was an increase in larger scale dumping in 2014, according to a report on litter pollution that was detailed at yesterday’s county council meeting in Tralee.
There were calls for tougher action against culprits caught in the act of indiscriminate dumping and people were urged to report offenders.
Some 509 cases were investigated last year — up from 425 in 2013, a jump of 17%. A total of 55 on-the-spot fines were issued, six prosecutions taken, and two notices served to clean up sites.
Dog fouling was also identified as a serious problem and certain “blackspots” for canine faeces were identified.
However, the report noted that a large number of dog-owners are now cleaning up after their pets, even if the problem continued in housing estates, on streets, and even in graveyards.
Dog-walking routes have been completed in Dingle, Beaufort, Listowel, Ballybunion, Killarney, and Tralee, with bag-dispensing units for dog waste and waste bins, along with signage, placed along such routes.
Bemoaning the fact that litter continues to “deface” the county, Independent councillor Michael Gleeson said every time litter is dumped on a roadside, the economy is damaged and jobs endangered.
He proposed that the Department of the Environment introduce a refundable deposit scheme for all recyclable wine, beer, and soft drink cans and bottles.
Mr Gleeson also suggested a badge be introduced for people using pooper-scoopers to wear on their lapels so that others might be encouraged to adopt a more caring attitude towards the environment.
Sinn Féin councillor Robert Beasley claimed the amount of rubbish on roadsides is at an all-time high. There is a shortage of staff to deal with the problem and more full-time personnel were needed, he said.
Fianna Fáil councillor John Francis Flynn said a huge amount of litter came from big take-away outlets which should be made responsible for their rubbish.
A claim that littering was leading to rodent infestation was made by Killarney-based Independent councillor Donal Grady, who said rats were “dancing polka sets” around the garbage.
Calling for the removal of direct charges for waste collection, he said collection charges were leading to illegal dumping and the cost should be included in some overall charges for household services.
Communities are now a critical element in litter control in Kerry, with almost 300 groups taking part in a spring clean campaign, during April/May 2014, collecting 80 tonnes of litter from roads, according to the report. A total of 45 Tidy Towns groups are also involved.
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