Councils ‘failing on litter levels’

Litter is still a problem in Larne, as this picture shows. INLT-05-711-con
Litter is still a problem in Larne, as this picture shows. INLT-05-711-con

Around one in seven of Northern Ireland’s streets and parks failed to meet the accepted standard for litter last year, despite councils spending £43,285,212 on cleansing in 2015-16.

The figures, which represent a rise of over eight per cent on spending during the previous year, were revealed by environmental charity Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful.

A survey of 1,100 sites across Northern Ireland found that 15 per cent of sites had a “widespread distribution of litter with minor accumulations” or worse.

The worst affected places were industrial estates, where more than one in three sample sites failed to meet the standard. By contrast, 99 per cent of low density housing areas were rated clean or very clean, with 14 per cent completely free of litter.

The battle against litter louts in Larne continues, with volunteers clearing an impressive 93 bin bags of rubbish weighing around half a tonne from Larne Lough in just two hours last month.

Chris Allen, who managed the Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful survey, said: “It’s clear from the data that councils are struggling to keep pace with people’s irresponsible habits.

“They’re being forced to spend a totally unsustainable amount of ratepayers’ money – our money – on treating an entirely preventable problem. The average annual charge to every ratepayer in the country is around £58.”

While the charity’s survey claims that dog fouling rates across the Province dropped to six per cent during 2016, the situation in Mid and East Antrim continues to anger locals.

Last month, Mid and East Antrim Borough Council revealed it is considering a crackdown on dog fouling, anti-social behaviour and fly-tipping through the deployment of mobile CCTV camera units across the borough.