LITTER, fly-tipping and dog mess complaints all rose in Carmarthenshire during the year of Covid lockdowns and restrictions.
There just isn’t an excuse for leaving a mess, said the council’s environment portfoilo holder Cllr Hazel Evans.
“It is the responsibility of all of us to keep Carmarthenshire clean,” she said. “As an authority we are doing everything we can, but we can’t do it alone.”
Figures released under the Freedom of Information Act showed the council received 4,568 fly-tipping and litter complaints in 2020-21 – that’s 457 more than the previous year.
There were 266 dog mess reports, 78 more than in 2019-20.
The scourge of litter and dog mess became more visible from the end of last March onwards as people spent more time at home and walking in their neighbourhood.
Noisy neighbours also grated more than normal, the figures suggest. There were 1,494 noise nuisance complaints in 2020-21, compared to 1,160 in 2019-20.
Council officers have various powers to sanction offenders.
In 2020-21 officers investigated 1,025 fly-tipping and litter offences in Carmarthneshire, carrying out eight prosecutions and issuing 38 fixed penalty notices.
They issued 29 warning letters and designated four public spaces protection orders – a tool for targeting various types of anti-social behaviour – in response to dog mess problems.
They also dished out 12 noise abatement notices and sent 220 letters informing potential offenders that noise levels were being monitored in the area.
The council is running a Keep Carmarthenshire Clean campaign asking people to keep tourist hotspots and residential areas litter-free.
It is liaising with volunteering website Connect Carmarthenshire to encourage people to collect “time credits” while litter picking – they can use these credits for leisure activities or booking a bulky waste collection.
The authority is also installing new dog fouling warning signs, and offers support to town and community councils to join anti-dog fouling initiatives.
Cllr Evans said: “We need to look after our communities and take more personal responsibility for our waste – if something can be recycled, please recycle it; if there is no bin in sight, take your rubbish home; if you have a dog, pick up after it.
“There is simply no excuse for littering, fly-tipping or failing to clear up dog fouling – there are plenty of local facilities including street bins, community recycling sites and household waste recycling centres – not forgetting the weekly kerbside waste collection service we provide to every household.”