Litter fines issued in Cork city have has been steadily increasing over the past five months - however payment of the fines remains low.
Since December 2016, 388 fines have been issued and 185 have been paid. Last month, 84 litter fines were issued and only 36 of those were paid.
According to Cork City Council's Director of Environment David Joyce, the rest of the fines are being processed through the courts.
However, according to the Chief Executive’s report, of the 388 fines issues since December 2016, just 27 cases have been taken to the courts.
“If we didn’t follow through with the fine, some people wouldn’t bother paying it. There has to be a penalty or it wouldn’t work," said Mr Joyce.
Speaking about the biggest cause of the litter fines, he said that dog fouling was an all-too-common offence.
“Unfortunately, when it comes to dog fouling, it seems to be socially acceptable to just leave it there and walk away.”
Describing how the department deals with the issue, Mr Joyce said education and prevention plays a key role in their strategy.
“It is not just about enforcement and waste removal, we spend a lot of resources on going to primary and secondary schools and teaching young people about the environment.”
Looking at things like dumping, Mr Joyce said the city had applied for extra funding to avail of new innovative initiatives, such as drones, in order to combat the issue.
“In terms of vehicular based dumping, CCTV is a great help, but when you are talking about individuals it is much harder to get usable data from the cameras.”
Mr Joyce said that ideally the litter wardens would be completely focused on education and prevention instead of having to issue fines to people.
“Prevention and education are key to controlling the problem, but we are not there yet.”