Anti-litter group hits out at Government

Coalition criticised for failure to support Adopt a Road scheme

Mon, Apr 22, 2013, 06:00

An anti-litter organisation has criticised the Government for failing to support an Adopt a Road scheme, which would see private enterprise fund clean-ups along national routes.

Dr Tom Cavanagh, chairman of Irish Business Against Litter (Ibal), has expressed frustration at the failure of the Government to back its Adopt a Road scheme. Dr Cavanagh said Fine Gael had proposed such a scheme in opposition but had failed to back the project in Government.

“Encouraging the private sector to finance the clean-up of main routes is a well-established concept in other countries. We should have it here. Many of our roadsides suffer from litter and the county councils have no funds from the National Roads Authority to remedy this.”

Ibal has been responsible for helping to transform cities and towns across the State from litter blackspots to rubbish-free zones.

A total of 42 Irish towns and cities will be monitored for cleanliness levels this year as part of the Ibal Anti-Litter League.

Last year, 80 per cent of the towns and cities were found to be as clean as or cleaner than the European norm, with Kilkenny deemed the cleanest.

A small number of Adopt a Road schemes are in existence, most notably through Ballymaloe foods near Midleton in Co Cork, but Ibal says a national approach is needed.

National strategy
“There is support at local authority level, but Adopt a Road needs to be driven by central Government nationally to have any impact. It’s about finding businesses to fund it on a scale that will cover large tracts of our road network,” Dr Cavanagh said.

Ibal has awarded Galway’s West End traders the inaugural Ibal business award for their anti-litter activity.

Malachy Duggan of the West End traders said: “We want to clean and green the west, to give it a cleaner and fresher look. Now that the boom is over, a lot of the improvements are going to be down to us.”

“Through their anti-litter efforts, the West End traders have succeeded in creating a real sense of community spirit, which in an urban area like Galway is not easy to achieve,” said Dr Cavanagh.

“We need to see similar groups thrive in our other cities. At a time when local authority resources are so constrained, areas will not be well maintained without this level of self-initiative.”