Cigarettes the butt of Kerry litter as council tackles issue

Cigarette butts account for 75% of litter in Kerry, up from 48% four years ago.

The disclosure came in a survey conducted by the local authority which shows the county is facing a “significant challenge” in tackling litter.

Under the new 2013-16 litter management plan adopted by Kerry County Council, a joint project may be operated with publicans in particular.

It is envisaged that cigarette butt and ash holders will be placed outside pubs, restaurants, and hotels, similar to a recent scheme in Listowel.

But there have been claims that smokers are not using the holders, even when they have been made available outside pubs in other parts of Kerry.

Some publicans do not clean up the hundreds of litter butts in front of their premises and traffic wardens are to be authorised to follow-up and investigate such litter complaints.

The council’s director of environmental services, Oliver Ring, said litter continues to be a “significant challenge” which requires the co-operation of communities.

“The problem of litter is a simple one to solve if each member of the community acts responsibly,” he said.

Amid reports of an increase in illegal dumping, the council will also carry out household waste disposal surveys to identify people who do not have proper disposal arrangements.

Cllr Michael Gleeson warned of a worsening of the problem if the cost of using landfills continues to rise. The cost has gone up by €10 per tonne and he described that move as a penalty on people who complied with the law by using landfills.

Dog-fouling continues to be problematic and there were calls to make it legally binding on owners out walking their pets to have a pooper-scooper in their possession.

The council is to continue providing pooper-scooper bins in designated sites, with special attention to be given to blue flag beaches.

Mr Ring reported the use of hidden CCTV cameras at litter blackspots, and the erection of signs saying that such areas were subject to surveillance, had helped reduce littering.

Cases requiring investigation dropped from 501 in 2011 to 405 last year, and a second mobile camera system at bring banks showed numerous incidents of illegal dumping.

Mr Ring said 303 clean-ups were carried out last year but evidence identifying offenders had been recovered in only 31 cases.

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