VOLUNTEERS are out and about in towns and villages throughout the county this week – and will be for the rest of the summer months – as Cork County Council’s commendable Anti-Litter Challenge gets under way, a precursor to the national Tidy Towns competition, which celebrates its 60th year in 2018.
The various Spring cleans that took place in April showed that public behaviour as regards indiscriminate littering of our countryside has not improved what with thousands of bags of litter being collected by civic-spirited people. Now, it’s down to the minutiae of litter on streets and in housing estates as the Anti-Litter Challenge sees each area starting with 100 marks and then deducted points for items of litter, cigarette butts and weeds observed by the judges on their visits.
The Tidy Towns competition goes a step beyond keeping areas clean and tidy, awarding marks under many different headings and encouraging community projects to enhance the environment. It is the holy grail for Tidy Towns committees to aspire to and it must be very frustrating for all the volunteers and local authority workers involved to see their efforts undermined by indiscriminate littering by people who always seem to get away with doing so.
Where litterers are caught and agree to pay a fine, that is the end of the matter. They should also be named and shamed. That would be a far bigger deterrent than being allowed just pay a fine.
Education is also vital to try to end the scourge of litter.