Survey finds litter still a major issue in disadvantaged areas

Ennis, Roscommon and Kildare are Ireland's cleanest towns.

A survey by Irish Business Against Litter found improvements overall, with one part of Limerick being the only area considered "seriously littered".

The three towns will vie for the title of Ireland’s cleanest town, with Environment Minister Denis Naughten due to make the announcement in Dublin today.

In the survey of 25 towns and 15 city areas, 88% were judged to be "clean", with 40% "cleaner than the European average".

However, the survey found increased littering in Dublin city centre, in disadvantaged areas of our cities, and on roads outside of towns.

Navan and Carlow both fell into the "moderately littered" category.

Just one area - Galvone in Limerick city - was designated as "seriously littered".

Waterford was the country's cleanest city, while Tallaght - previously a litter blackspot - was the fifth cleanest town in the country.

Castlebar and Portlaoise progressed strongly in the rankings, but Navan and Carlow both fell to “moderately littered”.

While still classed as littered, Dublin’s north inner city recorded its best-ever performance since it was first surveyed in 2011.

Continuing a trend of recent years, litter levels increased in Dublin city centre towards the end of the year.

“The council have been successful in keeping our capital clean for the peak summer season, but less so when it is over. Cleanliness is not just for tourists — it should be year-long,” IBAL spokesman Conor Horgan said.

But IBAL said progress in cities has been much slower than in towns, and much less consistent.

“In this latest survey, for example, we have seen reversals in recent improvements in Dublin city centre and Ballymun, as well as in Galway city’s Ballybane and Mahon in Cork, in a way that we have not witnessed in towns,” Mr Horgan said.

“This points to a lack of community involvement which is essential to keeping an area free of litter over time.”

And he said it is no coincidence the worst performing areas in the rankings are among the least affluent in the country, as defined by the Pobal Deprivation Index.

“Products of poor planning, disadvantaged communities are prone to litter on two fronts,” he said.

“In the first instance, they tend to be neglected by the local authority which concentrates their cleaning efforts on city centre locations.

“This is compounded by an absence of pride in the locality in these areas, where communities are often transient and amenities lacking.”

KEYWORDS: litter


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