Rise in litter on roadsides
The Christmas period has traditionally been a time when there is a notable increase in all types of littering and dumping in rural areas.
However, Wicklow Uplands Council has noticed an increase in the amount of rubbish strewn along roadsides in recent months and is encouraging people to be more careful with their waste.
'This litter is most likely being flung from passing vehicles,' said Charlotte Rosemond, who is the Communications Officer for Wicklow Uplands Council.
'Unfortunately, this is a trend that appears to be on the increase and is very difficult to address. Roadsides, dykes and hedgerows dispersed with all kinds of litter are a disgusting sight. It not only affects our environment but also pride in our rural areas, and yet the practice continues.'
The PURE Project has been very successful in tackling illegal dumping and fly-tipping, removing over 2,815 tonnes of dumping from upland areas since 2006. While PURE can effectively tackle dumping sites and bags of rubbish, it is more problematic to remove loose litter strewn along our roadsides.
'All littering is an eyesore but this type of littering is especially disgusting. Plastic bottles, glass, cans, nappies and paper blowing around our roadsides is unacceptable to a county of outstanding natural beauty,' said Charlotte.
By its nature, it takes a lot of time and resources to remove loose litter. Therefore, it has been local communities that have been most effective in tackling the problem through ongoing litter picks. Initiatives, such as the PURE Mile competition, have also been instrumental in providing resources for communities.
While littering is an ongoing issue, small household bin bags are also being randomly dropped out of cars at an alarming rate. While this practice may be an unintended consequence of changes to the bin collection system or fears of increased bin charges, the public are being warned that anyone caught littering is subject to an on-the-spot fine of €125 and up to €3,000 in court. In the instance of a successful court prosecution, Wicklow County Council is also entitled to be awarded costs incurred in the investigation, clean-up and prosecution of cases. Christmas is always a time of increased waste and Wicklow Uplands Council would like to remind everyone to 'Reduce, Reuse and Recycle'.
Along with some helpful tips to cut down on waste, the uplands council is urging people to make use of the counties numerous recycling centres to get rid of Christmas wrapping paper, packaging and other items.
Details of the nearest centre and its opening hours is available at www.wicklow.ie