New survey highlights extent of dog litter problem in Dublin

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Dubliners consider dog litter to be a bigger litter problem than cigarettes, gum or graffiti. And almost 4 in 10 dog owners in the capital don’t always clean up after their dog.  These are just some of the findings from a new survey Dublin City Council has commissioned into litter in the capital.

The survey was conducted by Millward Brown between 28th August and 10th September 2013. It looked at Dubliners’ attitudes to litter and how they would like to see it tackled. The survey asked 400 people, including 136 dog owners, for their views.

Some interesting findings from the survey:

  • 66% think dog litter is a problem
  • 34% have a dog
  • 89% feel dog owners should clean up after their dog
  • 49% think the dog litter problem is getting worse
  • 10% admit to rarely or never cleaning up after their dog

“The survey confirms what many people probably think – dog litter is perceived to be one of the city’s most significant litter problems and not enough dog owners are taking responsibility for it. Things can only improve when attitudes change. Our message is that not cleaning up after your dog is unacceptable and is a health hazard. Your dog is your responsibility so clean up after it”, says Hugh Coughlan of Dublin City Council’s Waste Management Services.

When it comes to enforcement, a majority of Dubliners, 57%, say fines are not sufficiently enforced. Only 26% feel dog litter fines are enforced enough.
Dublin City Council points out that while it does enforce dog litter byelaws the extent and nature of the problem mean litter wardens can only be one part of the solution. This is a view that the public generally are coming to share. 30% of those surveyed felt more education and awareness would improve the problem. Just 10% felt more wardens would be effective and only 2% called for new laws.
Dublin City Council released the survey to coincide with the launch of its new Public Awareness Campaign which is highlighting the extent and public health dangers of dog litter. The campaign is supported by the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government and the Dublin Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (DSPCA). The campaign was launched in Merrion Square Park at 10am today 7th November.

Survey results are available on:

Some other survey results

Which of these types of litter do you think is a problem (respondents could pick more than one)

General Litter 72%, Dog Litter 66%, Cigarettes 60%, Gum 58%, Overflowing Bins 38%, Graffiti 17%, Other 8%, None 2%

Have you littered in the last two months?
Yes 20% (24% of dog owners have)

89% of those surveyed think people should people take more responsibility for their own litter

76% feel litter has become more socially unacceptable in recent years

Has the litter problem improved in recent years?

20% feel it’s got better, 32% feel it’s the same, 48% feel it’s got worse

Is Dublin as clean as other European Cities?

44% think it is, 38% think it isn’t

Do you clean up after your dog?
63% always, 17% usually, 10% sometimes, 3% rarely, and 7% never

Some other key litter data (estimated figures):

  • Dublin City Council has 20 Litter Wardens and 2 Dog Wardens
  • The council has distributed 400,000 free dog pooper scooper bags
  • It cleans 1,200km of footpaths and roadways
  • There are 190,000 households in Dublin City Council’s administrative area
  • The council collects 14,000 tonnes of on-street litter per annum
  • Dublin city has 5,000 on-street litter bins
  • Around €31 million is spent on on-street cleaning per annum