Belfast Telegraph

Minister is urging councils to get much tougher on litter

By LINDA STEWART

THE advent of movie crews filming the likes of Game of Thrones and Dracula: Year Zero means Northern Ireland's spectacular landscapes are being showcased internationally as never before.

But this litter survey couldn't have come at a more crucial time as the arrival of the long awaited barbecue weather brought out hordes of litter louts.

Earlier this summer the Belfast Telegraph revealed how it took 16 pick-up truckloads to clear Portstewart Strand after visitors discarded everything from dirty nappies to sharp-edged metal disposable barbecues in its sands.

We highlighted how council staff were struggling to keep pace with the littering on some of the north coast's most popular beaches at the height of the heatwave and how Benone Strand was in danger of losing its Blue Flag status because the cost of clean-ups was becoming so high. It is now costing Limavady Borough Council around £100 a day.

Meanwhile, in an interview with the Belfast Telegraph, Environment Minister Mark H Durkan announced a series of measures to tackle litter on beaches, including urging councils to make full use of their powers to impose £80 on-the-spot fines. In the past year, councils have issued 3,700 on-the-spot fines for littering, but for many individual councils the number of fines remains in the single figures.

But there are positive trends out there. Earlier this year more than 50,000 volunteers joined our battle against litter, signing up to our Big Spring Clean campaign in partnership with Tidy NI and DoE Rethink Waste.

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