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Stormont must lead the way on litter problem

Much as I appreciate the Belfast Telegraph's campaign to heighten public awareness on litter, I have to take issue with some of the orthodoxies on the matter.

The priority should be removal of the most unsightly litter. And that is conspicuous rubbish - not cigarette ends or chewing gum.

They just aren't that noticeable. But white and strongly-coloured litter, especially plastic bags, are; the bigger the item the worse it looks. Oddly, the worst culprits are not people who simply let litter fall from their hand on to the street, but those who think they are making a bit of an effort (or trying to avoiding a fine) by dumping items in hedges and over garden walls. Another counter-productive habit is collecting dog excrement and then throwing the plastic bag into the undergrowth.

Council cleansing staff sadly will not go off-street to remove rubbish. That seems to be regarded as being more than their job's worth, so hedges and edges fill up. Perhaps the simplest way to get litter removed is to get into the habit of emailing the usually helpful council staff on streetcleansing

However, there is one big problem about responsibility which could only be solved at Stormont by joined-up government. That is out-of-town roads and the central reservations of dual carriageways. There is a large demarcation dispute here between DRD and councils which leaves many such areas rarely, if ever, picked.A solution would require a concordat between the relevant agencies which a group like Tidy Northern Ireland could broker. Meanwhile, streets remain awash with rubbish.



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