| 15.3°C Dublin

Why litter louts are getting off scot free

DUBLIN City Council is losing the battle against litter louts, with only a third of fines being collected.

The local authority has revealed its litter wardens issued 4,392 fines in the year up to December 14, 2010.

However, only 1,499 of these penalties were paid, the equivalent of 34pc of the total.

That left the number of fines outstanding at 2,893 -- or €433,950.

Only €224,850 was collected out of a possible €658,800, the city council revealed in a report.

Despite the massive shortfall, a mere 49 convictions were secured in courts during the year for non-payment of the charges.

The information was released to Cllr Vincent Jackson (Ind) who asked the local authority to give a breakdown of litter fines in the council's five area offices.

However, the council insists it is doing all it can to keep the capital clean.

The local authority said cigarettes, gum and fast food account for 75pc of the litter on the streets of the capital.

A campaign -- entitled Nobody Wants Your Litter. Bin It -- was aimed at heightening awareness of litter black spots in the city. And in 2009, the city council introduced new litter bye-laws requiring pubs and takeaways to clean the public footpaths 50m either side of them every one to two hours during opening times.

Pubs were forced to provide cigarette bins outside their premises, while the distribution of leaflets and flyers was completely banned.

The number of on-the-spot fines issued last year was significantly down on previous years.

In 2006, Dublin City Council issued 10,792 fines under the Litter Pollution Acts.

The local authority was unable to comment on the figures when contacted by the Herald.