Tuesday 23 October 2018

'Clean' Mallow well placed on final IBAL litter league of 2017

Town in joint 21st place and 'Clean to European Norms'

Mallow was praised for its strong performance on the final 2017 IBLA Anti-Litter League, with Thomas Davis Square receiving a special mention from judges. Photo: Sheila Fitzgerald.
Mallow was praised for its strong performance on the final 2017 IBLA Anti-Litter League, with Thomas Davis Square receiving a special mention from judges. Photo: Sheila Fitzgerald.

Bill Browne

Following its inclusion last year's Irish Business Against Litter (IBAL) Anti-Litter League for the first time since 2011, the town of Mallow has finished in a creditable joint 22nd place on the final table for 2017.

While the town has slipped down by three places on its standing on last September's table, its latest standing is a considerable improvement on its final 2011 position when the town finished the year in 40th position and was labelled by competition judges as being "littered". 

Mallow's final 2017 position has once again shown the hard work undertaken locally by groups including Mallow Tidy Towns and Cork County Council over the intervening years has paid dividends, with the town retaining the coveted 'Clean to European Norms' designation it received three months ago. 

Of the four areas in Cork included on the latests rankings only Cork City in 21st place finished above Mallow, with Mahon finishing in 35th place with a "Moderately Littered" designation and a "Littered" Cork North City finishing in 36th out of 40 areas surveyed. 

The team of An Taisce judges that surveyed Mallow on behalf of IBAL praised the overall strong performance by the town, which saw six of the 10 areas around the town they visited receiving the top 'Grade A' status, three areas given 'Grade B' status and one (Tip O'Neill Park) branded 'Grade C'. 

"This was a strong performance by Mallow, with one heavily littered site letting the town down," read the judges citation. 

The panel said the N72 Navigation Road "presented well" creating a "clean and bright impression of the town. Mallow Train Station, The Mallow Community Campus/Family Resource Centre and Thomas Davis Square also came in for special mention, with judges saying the latter looked "very well" following the recent renewal of the area. 

"With a little care and attention, Lidl could easily get a higher grade - it was let down by a variety of food related litter in the trolley bay and cigarette butts at the shop entrance," said the judges.

"The most heavily littered site surveyed in Mallow was at Tip O'Neill Park. The presence of such high levels of litter takes away from the excellent paving, seats and bins," they added. 

Overall, the results of the 2017 IBAL survey saw falls in the prevalence of fast food wrappers, plastic bottles and dog fouling. However, chewing gums, cigarette butts and cans continue to be major sources of litter.

In general, the survey identified an increase in letter levels along road connecting towns, with the majority, including the Cork-Mallow Road, described as being 'Moderately Littered'.

Niall O'Keeffe, the chair of Mallow Tidy Towns, said he was very pleased with the towns final standings on the IBAL table for 2017. 

"It is a reflection of the hard work done by all stakeholders including County Council, the Avondhu/Blackwater Partnership through their Tús workers and the Tidy Towns volunteers who give up their time on a regular basis," said Mr O'Keeffe. 

"Hopefully, this showing will encourage more people to show a greater pride in their town and join us in helping make a difference to Mallow and its environs."

Mr O'Keeffe said that Mallow Tidy Towns had already put in place a concerted plan of action for 2018, with the target of winning a medal in the national Tidy Towns competition. 

"The comments of the IBAL judges have been hugely encouraging and while there is much work still to be done, particularly in the areas of biodiversity and waste management, we do not feel this target is in any way out of reach," he said. "I also believe that with groups working together in the way that they have, there is no reason why we could not climb further up the IBAL table in 2018."

What the IBAL judges said about Mallow

N72 Navigation Road (approach from the west) - Grade A.

"This road created a welcoming, clean and bright impression of the town of Mallow. The road and footpath surface were in excellent order and there was a complete absence of litter throughout the area surveyed".

Mallow Train Station - Grade A.

"The Train Station at Mallow was immaculately maintained. The whole area was spotless throughout, including the main station areas and bicycle shelter.

Beecher Street - Grade A.

"This road is primarily made up of small, single storey terraced houses which are generally well presented. There was the occasional derelict site but none of these harboured any litter. The overall impression, was a good one".

Mallow Community Campus/Family Resource Centre - Grade A.

"This campus is a local amenity centre, providing a range of services. No litter was reported.

Thomas Davis Square - Grade A.

"A relatively recently renewed town square environment which has blended new and old buildings. Paving and street furniture were in excellent order. The whole area was devoid of litter".

Lidl - Grade B.

"Food related litter (plastic bottles, coffee cups and sweet papers) and cigarette butts at the entrance and next to the trolley bay brought down what was an otherwise very well presented site".

Ballydeheen - Grade B.

"There was a wide variety of food related litter in this area, much of it was located at the large derelict site on the town side of the street. It was noticeable the high number of 'energy' drinks container. Weeds and graffiti were also a feature".

Thomas Davis Street - Grade A.

"The area was attractively decorated with Christmas decorations at time of IBAL litter survey. Chewing gum was pronounced on the footpath, especially on one side of the street, from Thomas Davis Square up to and including the area near Centra".

Tip O'Neil Park - Grade C.

"There was a very definite litter presence at Tip O'Neill Park. Much of the litter was in the water feature (plastic bottles) as well as a mix of other types of litter throughout the venue. The presence of such high levels of litter takes away from the excellent paving, seats and bins".

N20 Cork/Mallow Road - Grade B.

"This route was littered (a wide variety of food related litter) at many of the exits (e.g. Blarney and Killeen) and approximately 5km south of Mallow. The stretch of road near Rathduff was cleaner than other parts".