Dún Laoghaire Rathdown Council aim to bin problem of rubbish

Dublin’s southern coastline to have extra bins at weekend and additional cleansing staff

Large wheelie bins are to be provided by Dún Laoghaire Rathdown Council along Dublin's southern coastline this weekend, and Blackrock and Dún Laoghaire, along with 40 additional smart bins and 18 recycling bins elsewhere.

Reflecting actions that are beginning to happen elsewhere, extra cleaning staff will be deployed at key locations by Dún Laoghaire Rathdown to ensure that bins are emptied more regularly.

But just how bad is the Republic's pollution problem? The State is one of the worst in Europe, generating 14 million tonnes of waste in 2018 of all types – commercial, domestic and the detritus that ends up on the side of the road.

Pedestrians were responsible for most of the litter, blamed for 41.1 per cent of it; while passing motorists were the next highest offender with 22.8 per cent. Despite falling smoking rates, cigarette butts comprise more than half of it.

General packaging and food packaging are the next most common types of litter found, at 14.9 per cent and 12.3 per cent respectively, noted the National Litter Pollution Monitoring System in a 2019 report.

The Environmental Protection Agency's Focus on Local Authority Environmental Enforcement Activity Report 2019 recorded that just 1,200 litter fines were enforced in that year, along with more than 515 prosecutions.

Local authorities want greater powers to use close circuit television (CCTV) to tackle offenders. But litter wardens have told The Irish Times their ability to stop illegal dumpers is hindered by data-protection concerns.

Councils that attempted to use CCTV were reprimanded by the Data Protection Commission, which found they had no legal powers to use surveillance.

Now the Government is examining the issue, perhaps opening the way for CCTV, dashcams, drones, staff bodycams, along with GPS trackers and number-plate recognition to be used to identify dumpers.