My Department provides the legislative framework to combat litter pollution. Under the Litter Pollution Acts 1997 to 2009, the management and enforcement response to littering is a matter primarily for local authorities. While enforcement is indeed critical, I believe that a sustainable long term solution to the issue of litter is best achieved through a combination of enforcement, education, awareness and, of course, individuals taking personal responsibility. My Department commissions an annual National Litter Pollution Monitoring Survey (NLPMS) Report (http://litter.ie). Overall, the trend of results demonstrates that the litter position has been improving, year on year. When the 2016 NLPMS report identified a very slight deterioration in the litter situation, I took immediate action on the issue by increasing 2017 funding for the local authority Anti-Litter and Anti-Graffiti Awareness Grant Scheme (ALAGS) scheme by 28% to €884,000. I also increased funding for the National Spring Clean by €40,000. I intend to maintain these levels of increased funding for 2018. My Department also supports the Irish Business Against Litter (IBAL) Litter League, and has negotiated agreements with the banking industry and the chewing gum industry. It also supports the Green Schools Programme, which is key to effecting a long-term change in societal attitudes towards litter disposal.
Last year, I also launched a €1.3 million anti-dumping initiative, through which my Department works in partnership with local authorities and community organisations in identifying high risk or problem areas, developing appropriate enforcement responses and carrying out clean-up operations. 229 anti-dumping projects throughout Ireland were supported in 2017. These included monitoring and surveillance of dumping black-spots and the development of an integrated and effective approach to dealing with this issue.