All Irish urban areas now joined litter campaign

Ireland's business sector has strengthened its resolve to support the government's fight against litter as 26 new towns have now joined the Irish Business Against Litter (IBAL) campaign.

The IBAL Litter League 2005 will now see a total of 56 towns participating in its campaign. Minister of State at the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, Batt O’Keeffe, TD, welcomed the move and confirmed that the campaign would now cover all of Ireland’s main urban areas.

Mr O’Keeffe said that his department would continue to co-sponsor the Litter League and work with IBAL to develop it even further.

“The increase in the number of participating towns is a very important step in the continuing development of the League in 2005 and beyond,” he stated. “Litter is largely an urban problem, so increasing the number of towns is essential if the League is to develop to its full potential as a national model for tackling litter pollution.”

Since the Litter League was first started in 2002, litter pollution levels have fallen by over 30% in Ireland’s participating towns, and according to officials, the campaign has proven that consistent, long-term results can be reached when local authorities adopt effective litter management systems.

“We have seen fantastic achievements in a short space of time, but we must not become complacent.” commented the Minister. “The expanded Litter League in 2005 presents local authorities with a greater challenge to improve their performances in tackling litter and build on the results already achieved.”

Mr O’Keeffe added that he was also aware of IBAL’s concern about the possible increase in litter pollution arising from the introduction of “pay by use” collection systems by local authorities, whereby householders dispose of their waste illegally rather than pay the appropriate waste collection charge.

However, he stated that he was confident this would not affect Ireland’s improving waste management record: “The Irish public in general has responded responsibly to ‘pay by use’ systems and, as has been seen in our recent improved recycling experiences, are prepared to join the Race Against Waste.”

Irish local authorities have been allocated €7 million from the Environment Fund to provide for dedicated environmental enforcement teams, helping them to take effective action to counter fly-tipping and the illegal dumping of household waste.

“It behoves us all to behave responsibly on this issue and to support our local authority’s efforts in this area,” Mr O’Keeffe concluded.

By Jane Kettle

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