The role of my Department, through the Litter Pollution Acts 1997 to 2009, is to provide the legislative framework within which to combat litter pollution. Under the Acts, the primary management and enforcement response to littering rests with Local Authorities, and it is a matter for each Local Authority to decide on the most appropriate public awareness, enforcement and clean-up actions in their area.
When the 2016 National Litter Pollution Monitoring Survey report (http://litter.ie) identified a very slight deterioration in the litter situation after a number of years of improvement, I took immediate action on the issue by increasing 2017 funding for the Local Authority Anti-Litter and Anti-Graffiti Awareness Grant Scheme (ALAGS) by 28% to €884,000. The ALAGS scheme enables Local Authorities to support appropriate local public education and awareness initiatives to tackle both litter and graffiti. In previous years the invitation to submit applications under the scheme has encouraged Local Authorities to consider the development of 'adopt-a-road' styled projects in their functional areas. In 2017, ten of thirty-one Local Authorities received funding under ALAGS for an ‘adopt-a-road’ style scheme.
In 2017, I also increased funding for the National Spring Clean by €40,000 to €225,000. The campaign, now entering its twentieth year, encourages every sector of society to actively participate and take responsibility for litter by conducting clean-ups of their own local environment. I intend to maintain these levels of increased funding for 2018. My Department also supports Irish Business Against Litter (IBAL), and has negotiated anti-litter agreements with the banking industry and the chewing gum industry. My Department also supports the Green Schools Programme, which is key to effecting a long-term change in societal attitudes towards litter disposal.