More bins less blame – communities need to be properly equipped for a summer at home

Senator Mark Wall
27 April 2021

Labour Senator Mark Wall has called for a common sense approach to tackle increased littering throughout the country. Local Councils must be empowered to prosecute littering and illegal dumping which will serve as a deterrent, but the public must have access to better facilities to dispose of their waste.

As the country looks forward to an outdoor summer, and with more and more people appreciating their locality, Senator Wall said there is an obvious need for more bins and public toilets.

Senator Wall said:

“Lockdown and restrictions have shown us all the beauty of our communities under our nose all this time. We’re enjoying watching the seasons change, hearing the birds singing and actually stopping to smelling the roses. People want to enjoy their community, the parks and the public spaces they have, so it is even extra disappointing to see it destroyed by litter when the sun comes out. That said, it’s no surprise to see bins flooding with waste as there are simply not enough bins in communities throughout the country, an issue that should be addressed without delay.

“I think we were all disappointed to see videos and images circulating after the weekend, however assigning blame won’t solve this. Litter is a collective problem that needs to be addressed at a community level. We’re told that this summer will be an outdoor one so the Minister needs to now prepare to protect communities against this behaviour.

“We need to make it easier for people to dispose of their waste after meeting for their outdoor coffees or pints. It’s clear that as more and more people are enjoying the outdoors now, we need to fully equip the outdoors with enough bins, particularly in areas like parks or near benches where people tend to meet socially.

“The same goes for public toilets. The issue of a lack of public toilets in Dublin has been well aired but the same goes for towns and villages throughout the country. Dublin City Council made a decision to open the toilets in some public buildings for use, the same logic should now be applied elsewhere. Public toilets are essential.

“In all of this, it’s so important to praise the work of volunteers up and down the country who put in hours on the morning after a sunny day to clear the litter. They do so selflessly for love of their locality, but they shouldn’t have to.

“Similarly, Local Councils need to be empowered to prosecute littering and illegal dumping when it occurs but we need to take a pragmatic approach here. I introduced a bill 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. CCTV acts as a deterrent and, if this bill was introduced, it would go a long way to change people’s behaviour for the better.

“People need to act responsibly when it comes to litter, but our communities must also be better equipped so that people can actually enjoy the great outdoors. More bins and a full regional spread of public toilets are just two very simple things that could resolve this.”

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