Why the litterbugs and fly-tippers cost us jobs in Northern Ireland
Litterbugs and fly-tippers are costing Northern Ireland's millions more than just the clean-up costs, it has been revealed.
Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful chief executive Ian Humphreys said the public was being hit by much more than the annual £40m cost to councils of keeping streets tidy. He was recently sent a letter by a tourism company that brought over anglers from Norway for a fishing trip on the Foyle.
But the waterways were so badly strewn with litter that the company cut short its 20-night stay - and cancelled all plans to ever return. The organisers said they "can't send clients to fish what resembles a landfill site".
In an exclusive interview, Mr Humphreys also recalled how a group was asked by Invest NI to clean litter from roadsides between its offices and the airport - because potential investors had been deterred by the mess and decided to go elsewhere, costing jobs.
Tackling litter is something simple that could deliver big savings for government at a time of austerity, he said. "Tourism jobs are at stake, there are potentially inward investment jobs at stake, there's the cost of the clean-up. It's a no-brainer," he said.