A Donegal County Councillor has called for a greater focus on preventing illegal dumping to maintain Donegal’s image as a ‘clean and green’ county.
Despite all the good work of council staff and 5,500 volunteers across the county, Cllr Barry Sweeny says every person in the county has to play their part.
“Even though there is an increase in resources in the last couple of years, there is still something not working,” Cllr Sweeny told this month’s county council meeting.
“Today when we look around our beautiful country, that has such a good, clean image, it doesn’t take much to scratch the surface and come across illegal dumping at any of our beauty spots, in remote areas, around our coastline and in town centres.
“I’m particularly disappointed with the amount of household rubbish that is being discarded, so blatantly, by repeat offenders.”
Donegal County Council issued 128 litter fines in 2020. To date, 40% of those fines have been paid with €7,200 being recouped by the Council. Last year the council received €120,000 from the Anti-Dumping Initiative to invest in equipment, technology, a bulky goods amnesty and addressing areas of littering and illegal dumping.
Cllr Sweeny said that fines and prosecutions are an important way to deter people from offending, but it’s an expensive tool to tackle the problem.
“We can take people to court, but I think the emphasis should be in the area of prevention so this doesn’t happen in the first place,” Cllr Sweeny said, adding that he would like to see a push on more initiatives and to see litter drones used more locally in rural areas.
“We need more than our staff, we need more than our Tidy Towns, we need 160,000 people in this county to play their part to tackle this problem.”