Littering gets worse in 'disadvantaged areas' of our biggest cities
Disadvantaged areas of our main cities are suffering from increasing levels of litter.
The latest Irish Business Against Litter (Ibal) survey finds that while Fermoy in Co Cork was the cleanest of 40 towns and cities surveyed, pockets of Galway, Dublin and Cork city were more heavily littered than in previous years.
An Taisce assessed litter levels over the summer months on behalf of Ibal, which found 77pc of towns and cities to be clean.
None was deemed a litter blackspot, but five were 'littered' or 'seriously littered' and scored worse than last year.
"We have seen a worsening of litter levels in economically disadvantaged areas, which dominate the lower placings of our rankings," said Conor Horgan of Ibal.
"What is often lacking in these areas is a sense of pride in place, which in turn reflects an absence of real community.
"In the frenzy to address our housing shortage, we must be mindful of the need to build communities along with houses. Mixed housing is the long-term solution to our urban litter problem."
While Dublin city centre was clean, registering one of its best ever results, the north inner city and Ballymun both deteriorated and were 'heavily littered'. Cork city's northside and Mahon also showed higher levels of litter, as did Ballybane in Galway city, which was bottom of the rankings.
The An Taisce report for Ballybane cited "pathways riddled with heavy levels of food-related litter", "huge swathes of all manner of litter, as well as discarded bags of rubbish" and dumping near a local church.
There were several blackspots in Ballymun, which suffered from widespread dumping.
By contrast, An Taisce complimented Fermoy, stating: "It is rare to visit a town with an almost complete absence of litter, not just in the town centre but in residential and other outlying areas surveyed."
The report for Dublin city centre noted "a virtual absence of litter" along many high footfall streets, and that the shopping streets in the capital this summer "presented very well".
Navan showed the greatest improvement of any town, rising 20 places in the rankings.
"Our surveys have consistently revealed a disparity in cleanliness between our city centres on the one hand, and neglected city areas on the other," Mr Horgan added.
"This disparity has never been more acute than this year - our city centres are cleaner, while disadvantaged urban areas are more littered.
"In most cases, the litter we encounter doesn't appear overnight, but has been present over a long period.
"It is frustrating to see our surveyors highlighting the same sites year on year, with no evidence of clean up.
"It also bears out our contention that our litter problem is concentrated in areas that are being neglected by local authorities.
"A concerted effort to clean up these areas would contribute greatly."
The cost of litter wardens is 10 times greater than the revenue collected through litter fines.