24 May 2022

Staggering amount spent on street cleaning in Offaly in three years

€1.4 million spent on street cleaning in Offaly in three years

Cigarette butts account for the largest percentage of litter in Offaly

OVER the last three years, Offaly County Council has spent in excess of €1.4 million on street cleaning for its towns and villages - approximately €500,000 per annum.

Cigarette related litter (45.5%) continues to constitute the highest percentage of litter in the locations surveyed – this consists mainly of cigarette ends which account for 43.3% of all litter items nationally. This is followed by packaging litter (21.9%) bottle caps (2.5%), bottles (1.9%), drink lids (1.6%), drink cups (1.6%), beverage bottles (non-alcoholic) (1.6%), bags and wrappers (1.4%) beverage cans (alcoholic) (1.3%), beverage cans (non-alcoholic) (1.2%) and beverage bottles (alcoholic) (1.2%)

Food related litter (11.0%) is the third largest category of litter pollution recorded. Chewing gum is the single largest litter component in the food related litter category,

The local authority says that dog fouling throughout the county, particularly in our towns and villages has become an increasing litter issue over recent months. ''Not only is dog fouling unsightly, it poses a health and safety risk to many, particularly those who use wheelchairs, pushchairs and prams as well as for walking.''

The council has taken a number of actions to combat dog litter and has increased foot patrols in problematic areas and issued letters and information leaflets on responsible dog ownership to local residents. The council has also put free doggy bags into local shops, post offices and public buildings. In addition it has placed 'Mutt Mitts' which are doggy bag dispensers along dog walking routes to encourage people to clean up after their dog

The council is now inviting submissions from the public on a new draft litter management plan covering January 2022 to December 2024.

Offaly County Council says it ''must strive to maintain a litter free environment, not just for visitors to the county but for those who live here. It is not only tourist attractions that fuel the need for effective litter prevention and control, but it is the aesthetics associated with approach roads in towns and villages as well as footpaths, hedges and grass verges,'' a statement reads.

Another objective of the plan is a management plan in relation to large events. The Council is to engage with event organisers to produce an ''agreeable litter management plan.''

Litter offences include throwing litter on the ground, putting domestic waste into a litter bin, throwing litter out of a vehicle, litter falling from your vehicle or trailer.

Littering is liable for a fixed penalty notice, otherwise known as a litter fine or on-the-spot fine, of €150. Failure to pay a litter fine within the timeframe of 21 days may result in the council initiating legal proceedings to the alleged offender. Upon a successful prosecution in court under the Litter Pollution Act, 1997 by a Local Authority, a conviction may incur a fine of up to €3,000.

All written submissions on the draft litter management plan will be considered by the council. The closing date is February 11. For further information, contact the Environment Section of Offaly County Council.

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