Signage similar to that used in discouraging the smoking of cigarettes has been suggested as the model to follow when it comes to cutting down on illegal dumping in Co Clare.

Greater signage is needed to advertise the ‘leave no trace’ policy while a review on illegal dumping signs is needed across the county, Cllr Donna McGettigan (SF) detailed in a recent proposal before Clare County Council.

She stated, “The ‘leave no trace’ policy is not working on its own and needs a combined effort of highlighting and enforcement such as more fines. This issue comes up repeatedly, I have seen signs that are covered in debris or overgrown therefore making them almost invisible. We need hard hitting signs with graphics that show the damage that directly affects our wildlife and our environment, graphics that may make people stop and think of the damage they are doing before dumping or littering”.

Anti-litter and anti-dumping messages are the core themes of the ‘leave no trace’ policy, senior engineer Cyril Feeney said in response while he flagged littering and anti-dumping awareness campaigns are not limited to this policy. Social media was described as “an important tool” to deliver these messages while he admitted that the potential of “hard hitting signage graphics” would be explored.

96 fines have been issued as of September by Clare County Council under waste management legislation.

Packaging on cigarettes was referenced by the Shannon representative as she explained her thinking for a more “hard-hitting” campaign. “When I talk about a hard-hitting campaign, when you look at the packet of cigarettes and the damage they do, you can see it on the box, we need to see the physical damage that waste does to our wildlife and our habitat”.

In the first nine months of the years, “hundreds of bags of rubbish” have been collected by Shannon Tidy Towns, McGettigan highlighted as she emphasised her view that the current policy was failing.

One criteria of the funding allocated to the local authority as part of the policy is a commitment not to have bins in certain areas such as Shannon Town Park, Cllr Gerry Flynn (IND) observed. “Some people will undoubtedly leave their waste behind,” he acknowledged.

Confidence was voiced by Cllr Joe Cooney (FG) that the tide is turning in Clare’s battle with illegal dumping. “We are winning the battle at the moment, there is fantastic work done by the local authority and community groups, unfortunately landowners and people who own development sites are not helping out and I think we’re winning the fight”.

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