Mr Phil Hogan, T.D., Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, today (24 June 2013) announced the provision of €900,000 in grants from the Environment Fund to local authorities under the 2013 Anti-Litter & Anti-Graffiti Awareness Grant Scheme, which enables local authorities to provide support for a broad range of measures aimed at raising public awareness of the litter issue and promoting anti-litter and anti-graffiti activity at a local level. There is a particular focus on voluntary initiatives involving schools, young people and community groups under the Scheme. The Minister also took the opportunity to announce the publication of the 2012 National Litter Pollution Monitoring System Report. The System Report provides important statistical data about the extent, causes and composition of litter in Ireland.
In announcing the provision for 2013 and the publication of the 2012 Report, Minister Hogan was keen to acknowledge the role being played by local authorities and communities in tackling Ireland’s litter problem. “Local authorities, working together with the communities they serve, continue to contribute greatly to the on-going battle against litter pollution across the country. The funding announced today is intended to further assist local authorities in their efforts to raise awareness of the litter issue within their area and to encourage local participation in their anti-litter efforts. The 2012 Report shows that the number of areas surveyed across the country deemed to be completely unpolluted stands at 10.4%, the highest level achieved since monitoring began. Conversely, the number of areas surveyed deemed to be grossly polluted at 0.3% is at its lowest ever level, so clearly our efforts are paying dividends. However, there have been small increases in those areas deemed to be moderately or significantly polluted, so we cannot afford to become complacent.”
In summary the 2012 National Litter Pollution Monitoring System Report reveals that –
• There has been an increase in the number of areas surveyed deemed to be litter free from 9.9% in 2011 to 10.4% in 2012, the highest level ever achieved;
• 63.2% of all areas surveyed were slightly littered, a decrease of 3.8% on 2011 levels;
• The percentages of moderately and significantly polluted areas have increased by 2.6% and 0.8% to 22.9% and 3.2% respectively;
• The percentage of grossly polluted has decreased slightly from 0.4% to 0.3%, the lowest level ever;
• Cigarette related litter (52.7%), food related litter (19.1%), packaging litter (13.2%), and sweet related litter (7.3%) were identified as the main constituents of litter nationally;
• Passing pedestrians (39.3%), passing motorists (18.6%), retail outlets (10.8%), fast food outlets (6.5%) and gathering points (6.0%) were identified as the main causative factors of litter nationally.
The Minister urged local authorities to continue to work together with community groups and schools to tackle litter and graffiti problems, pointing out that, “the appearance of our cities, towns, villages and our rural and coastal environments is crucial to both social and economic activity across the country, and contributes significantly to our tourism offering, creating jobs and generally adding value to peoples everyday lives. We must ensure that in 2013, the year of the Gathering, we all work together to present our wonderful country in the best possible light. Citizens must take responsibility for their own behaviour and I would urge everyone, particularly smokers in light of the results announced today, to take responsibility for their own litter and to make every effort to dispose of it correctly at all times.”