With pictures “flooding social media” this week that the good weather has “led to a dramatic increase in littering”, Labour Party Senator Mark Wall has urged people to responsibly dispose of their rubbish while out and about.

The senator brought a bill to the Seanad recently which would allow the use of CCTV in prosecution of offences relating to illegal dumping.

The Local Government (Use of CCTV in Prosecution of Offences) Bill 2021 comes “as a result of the increase in illegal dumping in Irish countrysides”. He has highlighted “the urgent need” to progress this bill.

‘Huge lack of respect’

“The lovely weather usually cheers everyone up, but local communities will be devastated by the volume of rubbish sun-worshippers have left behind in public parks and streets throughout the country,” the senator said.

It’s really disappointing to see pictures on social media of places covered with litter. Put simply, it is environmental vandalism.

“It shows a huge lack of respect for the many community leaders and volunteers throughout the country who this morning were out picking up after these litterbugs.

“I would urge everyone to pick up their litter and leave the environment as they found it when enjoying public spaces. People must take pride in the spaces and remember to pack up after they’ve enjoyed the outdoors.”

‘Another symptom of the culture of illegal dumping’

The senator called this “another symptom of the culture of illegal dumping in the country that is out of control”.

“Illegal dumping is rampant throughout our beautiful countryside, the main streets of our cities, the main roads through our towns, as well as every secondary road and laneway in our country,” he continued.

“That’s why I introduced a bill last month that would allow the use of CCTV by our local authorities to facilitate the prevention, investigation, detection and prosecution of an offence of illegal dumping.

There can be no doubt that CCTV can be, and is one of the most effective tools in the fight against the blight of illegal dumping.

“The figures involved in the clean-up of this vandalism are mind-blowing. Local authorities in Kildare, Meath and south Dublin alone are spending an average of €3 million a year on clean-ups.

“If this is replicated throughout our 31 local authorities, then we are wasting, on average, €90 million per year on clean-ups.

“The images of widespread littering highlight that there may be a need for regulations to protect our localities and encourage people to act responsible when it comes to littering.

“As we all look forward to a summer outdoors, we must never wake up to another morning of appalling images of littering. We need to take pride and show respect to our localities.”