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Leave no trace Dublin Council appeals for public to 'take ownership' as they struggle with unprecedented levels of litter

Last weekend images posted on Twitter by Cllr James Geoghegan showing the aftermath of gatherings in the south city illustrated the scale of the problem

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One of the images posted on Twitter by Cllr James Geoghegan

One of the images posted on Twitter by Cllr James Geoghegan

One of the images posted on Twitter by Cllr James Geoghegan

Dublin City Council has been forced to roll out extra “barrel bins” while frontline street cleaning staff are working “around the clock” in an effort to deal with unprecedented levels of littering, it has emerged.

The council has appealed to people eating and drinking outdoors in the fine weather and long evenings to act responsibly as they struggle to cope with the waste left behind.

The Director of the Office of City Recovery, Coilin O’Reilly, said that while the council is wholly committed to making every effort to alleviate this problem, “we can’t do it on our own”.

“We need everyone to take ownership and play their part in keeping Dublin beautiful this summer, making it a place for everyone to enjoy,” he said.

The council issued the appeal as part of the ‘Leave No Trace’ campaign. They say the impact of littering on the street is no less than that on a forest trail or hill walk given the pollution it causes to valuable waterways and green areas within the city.

Locals and various public representatives have been taking to social media to highlight what has become a growing issue in recent weeks.

Last weekend images posted on Twitter by Cllr James Geoghegan showing the aftermath of gatherings in the south city illustrated the scale of the problem.

“Portobello last night,” he tweeted alongside a series of pictures showing empty bottles and cans littering the poplar canal-side hang out. “We have to do a whole lot better. This can’t continue, even in the short term.”

The scenes prompted Dublin’s Lord Mayor Hazel Chu to respond by saying: “Saw the photos of rubbish at Portobello, Herbert Park & have asked that wheelie bins or some form of big barrel bins be put in for next weekend.

“Please also bring your rubbish home, a group of locals have started a 'leave no trace' campaign in their park & it’s been working well.”

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One of the images posted on Twitter by Cllr James Geoghegan

One of the images posted on Twitter by Cllr James Geoghegan

One of the images posted on Twitter by Cllr James Geoghegan

Meanwhile, a video taken by Virgin Media weatherman Deric Ó hArtagáin, showing the Phoenix Park left "absolutely destroyed" by litter rubbish over the weekend generated a massive response online.

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Speaking to Lunchtime Live on Newstalk, Mr Ó hArtagáin said the amount of rubbish that accumulated in the popular amenity at the weekend was "an absolute disgrace".

"We had such beautiful weather right across the weekend and I think it's been great that people are out and about enjoying it but off the back of that, we have a very frustrated country waking up this morning because many areas were completely destroyed between Saturday and Sunday and this morning," he said.

"I live quite near the Phoenix Park and went out for a spin on Sunday and I was passing by and I saw the guys from the OPW and all the rubbish and the Phoenix Park yesterday was absolutely destroyed.

"I think yesterday it just got to me because so many people we passing and saying it was an absolute disgrace," Mr Ó hArtagáin added.

He believes his post got a huge reaction from people as it "opened a can of worms in terms of the nationwide frustration".

"I think the attitude we have in this country to litter is kind of a love-hate relationship with rubbish," he added.

"We love to see places nice and clean, nice and tidy, but we hate to pick it up and it's not something that's instilled in us from a very young age.

"If you go to any of the Scandinavian countries or into mainland Europe, most of the major cities and towns are absolutely spotless.

"People can point the finger and say it's the county council's job or it's the city council's job or it's the OPW's job, but it's not, at the end of the day, we have to point the finger back on ourselves."

It's a matter of civic and social responsibility and how we dispose of our own rubbish and how we look after the environment, Mr Ó hArtagáin added.

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One of the images posted on Twitter by Cllr James Geoghegan

One of the images posted on Twitter by Cllr James Geoghegan

One of the images posted on Twitter by Cllr James Geoghegan

He said there aren't many bins in the park and the ones that are there were overflowing yesterday, but additional bags had been planned in 'hotspot' areas around the park too which "were only half full".

"It's not even this weekend, this is an ongoing issue, in terms of 'leave no trace', I don't think we understand it," he stated.

"I think without the tidy towns reams in this country we would be absolutely screwed because they do such a great job."

Dublin City Council has pointed out that they have 3,200 bins in their area with an additional 70 barrel bins in place at litter hotspots to assist with the extra demand.

They also announced that in addition to the barrel bins, the City Council has a programme of work involving the installation of extra litter bins including 30 of the Smart City Big Belly units.

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