District meets litter target but dog fouling still a problem

BANBRIDGE District Council is one of only two Northern Ireland council areas to meet Tidy Northern Ireland’s target for litter control according to a new survey.

The organisation set a Litter Pollution Index (LPI) of no more than eight per cent - meaning that no more than eight per cent of the areas surveyed across the district fell below a Grade B for litter in 2010.

A council spokesperson said the findings were “all the more pleasing” in view of the fact that Banbridge District incurred the third lowest cost per head of population for street cleansing in 2009-10.

However, Council Director of Environmental Services, David Lindsay, stressed there was no room for complacency, as too many individuals were still exercising “irresponsible behaviour” when it comes to litter.

“There is still a small but significant number of people who continue to indiscriminately drop litter,” said Mr Lindsay. “The litter ranges from sweet papers, drinks containers, fast food wrapping, cigarette buts or chewing gum to allowing pet dogs to foul footpaths and open spaces without cleaning it up afterwards.

“These people are letting down the rest of the community and the local environment in a monumental way. Behaving in a responsible manner when it comes to litter is one of the most important aspects of good citizenship and I would urge all in the district, young and older, to do the right thing.”

Meanwhile, local litter-busters are encouraged to take part in this month’s ‘Big Spring Clean’ organised by Tidy Northern Ireland in the wake of its latest report which shows the cleanliness of Northern Ireland streets has declined for the first time in five years.

The survey found one in every six streets (17 per cent) failed standards this year - nearly twice the rate experienced in 2009 - and 98 per cent of transects contained at least some litter.

In virtually all areas surveyed, the top three litter items encountered were cigarette, confectionary and chewing gum.

Anyone who witnesses a littering or dog fouling incident and can provide details to the council which could lead to the issue of a fixed penalty notice should contact the Environmental Health Department on 028 4066 0606.