Sunday 11 December 2016

It's time we stopped blaming others for our litter problem

Published 16/07/2015 | 02:30

'The Irish have traditionally had a reputation for being a dirty, slovenly race and while we are quick to react with snarling fury whenever foreigners paint us in a less than flattering light, it would appear that, if anything, we're becoming even messier'
'The Irish have traditionally had a reputation for being a dirty, slovenly race and while we are quick to react with snarling fury whenever foreigners paint us in a less than flattering light, it would appear that, if anything, we're becoming even messier'

A couple of years ago, a good friend of mine made a short visit to Greece. His beloved Shamrock Rovers were playing against PAOK Thessaloniki and some fans went to a local restaurant on the day of the match. More than the football, he remembered the rubbish-strewn streets and the way the local rats and stray cats had all grown to a gargantuan size due to the rich pickings in the unclaimed bags.

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When asked why there was so much rubbish outside his establishment, the owner shrugged and said that official refuse collections hadn't happened in weeks. When it was suggested that he could surely clear up some of the mess himself, the owner was horrified. "That's the government's job," was the baffled response - as if cleaning up his own business was some sort of crazy idea spouted by an even crazier Irish man.

Unfortunately, plenty of Irish people will side with that Greek restaurateur, which is why the idea of new fines for individuals and businesses who are caught illegally dumping rubbish is to be welcomed, if only guardedly.

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