Shane Coleman on Dublin's litter problem: 'Why are we still using plastic bags?'

A new Irish Business Against Litter survey says the Deposit Return Scheme has resulted in an improvement in litter levels
Jack Quann
Jack Quann

08.07 24 Jun 2024

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Shane Coleman on Dublin's litt...

Shane Coleman on Dublin's litter problem: 'Why are we still using plastic bags?'

Jack Quann
Jack Quann

08.07 24 Jun 2024

Share this article

Ireland needs to do better when it comes to cleaning the streets and enforcing litter laws, according to Shane Coleman.

The Newstalk Breakfast presenter was responding to a new survey which found Dublin City Centre remains ‘littered’.

The Irish Business Against Litter (IBAL) survey said the Deposit Return Scheme resulted in a fall in cans and plastic bottles on streets, contributing to an overall improvement in litter levels.


There was a rise in the number of sites deemed clean across the country, with a significant fall in those judged to be ‘heavily littered’.

IBAL Litter Survey results IBAL Litter Survey results

Naas was top of the rankings of 40 towns and cities, but Dublin City Centre failed to improve and is still classed as ‘littered’.

Shane Coleman said litter is a real issue where he lives in the North Inner-City

"I walk home every day and I'm increasingly despondent - it's filthy a lot of the time," he said.

"One of the big problems is how have we still got plastic bags at this stage?

"There was rubbish strewn all over one of the streets as I was coming in this morning because a seagull or a fox had got at a black plastic sack.

"We need something done about it".

Shane said while the problem is not unique to Dublin, citing high litter levels on a recent trip to Bordeaux, we need better solutions.

'Municipal bins'

Presenter Ciara Kelly said an answer could lie in bigger, municipal bins.

"I don't think we're going to fix this without those big municipal bins - you know those big ones you see in Spain at the end of the road?" she said.

"I think for a while they will be overspilling with people dumping all their crap out of their houses and stuff.

"But I wonder over time will that settle down?"

Ciara said littering comes down to a lack of civic pride, "but I don't know what can be done about that".

'Enforcement' of litter laws

Shane believes there isn't such a quick-fix solution.

"I wouldn't be optimistic - I see people going stuffing their rubbish into little public bins at the moment," he said.

"I'm not sure what the solution is.

"I think it's Dublin City Council, I think they need to be better at cleaning the streets.

"I know there are people out there doing great work... but I just think we need to do better.

"We need to be better at enforcement at people who are littering all the time - there's no enforcement," he added.

The study, conducted by An Taisce on behalf of IBAL, showed a healthy rise in towns reaching the upper tier of cleanliness – ‘Cleaner than European Norms’ – and a fall of 35% in the number of towns branded ‘littered’.

Naas regained the top position it lost last year to neighbouring Maynooth, ahead of Monaghan and new entrant Blanchardstown.

Ballybane in Galway slipped to bottom of the rankings, followed by Dublin City Centre, North Inner-City and Ballymun - which failed to maintain its improvement of last year.

Main image: Split-screen image shows Newstalk Breakfast host Shane Coleman and a seagull attacking a rubbish bag. Image: Newstalk/ suzan vagoose / Alamy

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Ballybane Bordeaux Deposit Return Scheme Dublin City Centre Enforcement IBAL Irish Business Against Litter Litter Litter Levels Municipal Bins Naas Newstalk Breakfast North Inner City Shane Coleman

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