Of the 50,000 litter fines issued in Ireland from 2012 to 2017, just 2.5 percent of those were issued in Galway.
The environmental group VOICE published a report titled ‘Public Waste Out of Sight Out of Mind’ following on ten months of investigation into how local councils handle waste and litter fines.
The group gathered five years worth of litter management and enforcement efforts coupled with street bin and street cleaning costs and waste types.
According to the report just 1% of litter fines were issued in Galway county over that period, with Galway city accounting for just under 1.5%.
The average number of litter fines issued annually throughout Ireland from 2012 to 2017 was 8,300, with an average compliance rate of 43 percent in paying fines.
In 2017 Galway city’s compliance rate was below average at just 40 percent according to the report, while Galway county stayed slightly above the average, collecting 45 percent of fines issues.
According to the city council’s annual report for 2018, last year the council issued 209 fines for littering, collecting €14,100.
With on the spot litter fines coming to €150, that indicated that 94 fines were paid, a compliance rate of 45 percent.
It should be noted that while the report said that while Galway County did reply to the group’s request for information, it was one of nine local authorities which provided partial or incomplete data.
VOICE credited Galway County council for having a large number of full time litter wardens compared with other councils.
Galway county and Dublin city each have 15 full time litter wardens apiece according to the report, where the average is just five.
Mindy O’Brien, Coordinator of VOICE said that this report shows the need for a “properly informed debate on the real cost, both financial and environmental, of litter, street cleaning and street bin management and must find methods that actually deter litter louts.”
“Current enforcement systems are not working and are not cost effective; many litter fines are ignored and the ones that are pursued in court are done at a significant financial loss to the local authority.”
The most common littering offences to go to prosecution in Ireland were section 3 offences such as fly-tipping, depositing household waste in public bins or generally causing litter in a public place which accounted for two thirds of prosecutions.