What makes people litter?


Sir, – Prof Paul Wesley Schultz’s contention (Conor Pope, “Talking rubbish: what makes people litter?”, March 22nd) that environmental context is the critical determinant of an individual’s propensity to litter is central to the campaign which Irish Business Against Litter has been spearheading for nearly two decades.

Clinical research conducted in the UK, showing that people were less likely to litter on the clean side of a street than the littered side, bears out Dr Schultz’s theory.

But we don’t need to look abroad for proof. Our annual Anti-Litter League of 40 towns and cities has shown that once a town attains “clean” status, there is a greater than 80 per cent that it will retain it in future years. Once an area has been rid of litter for a period, behavioural change in those living there will ensure it stays that way. Therein lies the hope for the many disadvantaged areas of our cities which are still plagued by litter.

If local authorities would commit the initial investment to cleaning them up, there is every likelihood they would remain clean. – Yours, etc,


Irish Business Against Litter (IBAL),

Guinness Enterprise Centre,

Dublin 8.