Friday 27 April 2018

No 'blackspots' as litter league shows towns now cleaner

2015 IBAL Anti-Litter League stats
2015 IBAL Anti-Litter League stats
Mark O'Regan

Mark O'Regan

Ireland continues to clean up its act as there are no longer any towns considered 'litter blackspots'.

However, there are still problem locations in various parts of the country, according to the latest litter league.

Drogheda, Dun Laoghaire, Dungarvan, Longford and last year's winner, Kilkenny, are all vying for the title of Ireland's cleanest town, to be revealed later today.

But only Farranree in Cork city was deemed 'seriously littered' among the 40 towns and cities surveyed in 2015 by Irish Business Against Litter (Ibal).

The group's latest report revealed huge strides have been made in cleaning up some of our major urban areas.

Even Farranree is no longer dubbed a blackspot - and Dublin's North Inner City also shedded its 'seriously littered' tag.

Cork, Limerick, and Galway, were all described as 'clean', with Waterford judged to be above average European standards. However, while three quarters of the urban areas surveyed were found to have met European norms, there was an overall fall of 15pc in the standard achieved compared to 2014.

Likewise, the number of towns deemed cleaner than the European average fell from 17 to 12. Conor Horgan of Ibal said after a decade of year-on-year improvement, it is disappointing to see standards in some areas begin to slip.

"We may be witnessing the effect of the disappearance of town councils - or we may be getting slightly complacent- about our overall litter problem," he warned.

The survey, carried out by An Taisce on behalf of Ibal, showed a site at Gardiner Street Business Park, and Lower Rutland Street, were the only major litter blackspots in Dublin's North Inner City.

It said that, with more effort, many moderately littered sites could become litter-free.

Referencing Farranree in Co Cork, it found this location has been subjected to either dumping or long-term neglect, and sometimes a "mixture of both".

"Despite the publicity which the area has received on foot of previous poor results, we haven't seen enough improvement in Farranree," said Mr Horgan.

A key finding of the survey was that major footfall areas of Dublin City Centre, such as Grafton Street and O'Connell Street, are again judged to be clean, having slipped in the previous study. The report also found "there was a huge improvement at the Dublin Airport environs".

Given their visibility to visitors to Ireland, these roads need to be maintained to this standard all the time, it stated.

Across the country, recycling facilities and disused or abandoned sites were the most prone to litter. Promenades and river walks can also be problematic.

Irish Independent

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