-Extra bins and public toilets needed.
Labour representative Senator Mark Wall has called for a common sense approach for an outdoor summer. At a time that communities are encouraged to embrace the outdoors, local councils must have adequate resources to help the public enjoy their outdoor summer outside.
Senator Wall said:
“With the weather now improving and a relaxation of restrictions there must be immediate steps to ensure public spaces are properly equipped for the potential of large crowds.
“The pictures over the weekend of people enjoying their outdoor summer should be no real surprise, given that local areas have not been equipped adequately for an outdoor summer. It’s no surprise to see bins flooding with waste as there are simply not enough bins in communities throughout the country, an issue that the Labour Party has continued to highlight. This is just about organisation and pro-active planning.
“I think we were all disappointed to see videos and images circulating after the weekend, however assigning blame won’t solve this. Litter is a collective problem that needs to be addressed at a community level. We’re told that this summer will be an outdoor one so the Government should have prepared for this properly through increasing bins, hiring additional council workers, funding public toilets and providing additional street furniture. The outdoor summer has come as no shock to anyone, given that this is our second summer living with Covid restrictions.
“We need to make it easier for people to dispose of their waste after meeting for their outdoor coffees or pints. It’s clear that as more and more people are enjoying the outdoors, we need to fully equip the outdoors with enough bins, particularly in parks or near benches where people tend to meet socially.
“The same goes for public toilets. The issue of a lack of public toilets in Dublin has been well aired but the same goes for towns and villages throughout the country. While Dublin City Council made a decision to open the toilets in some public buildings for use, the majority of these are closed at 4pm. Government should be thinking logically and opening well-resourced public toilets in areas that people are meeting and at the times that they tend to congregate. Public toilets are essential and long overdue in communities throughout the country.
“In all of this, it’s so important to praise the work of volunteers up and down the country who put in hours on the morning after a sunny day to clear the litter. They do so selflessly for love of their locality, but they shouldn’t have to. People need to act responsibly when it comes to litter, but our communities must also be better equipped so that people can actually enjoy the great outdoors. More bins and a full regional spread of public toilets are just two very simple things that could resolve this.
“Government has had plenty of time to prepare for this. The problem is not people socialising but people not being empowered to dispose of their waste properly, have access to public toilets, or even enough seating. With the bank holiday approaching us, local spaces just need to be better equipped to host the outdoor summer that we have all been looking forward to.”