The most recent study by business group Irish Business Against Litter (IBAL) has shown further improvement in the cleanliness of Irish towns, with Ballincollig, Fermoy and Youghal all deemed ‘Clean to European Norms’ in 7th, 20th and 32nd positions respectively out of 53 towns surveyed. Both Cobh and Midleton are ‘moderately littered’ in 40th and 47th , while Mallow moves up from ‘seriously littered’ last year to ‘littered’ in 48th. Cork City, however, has deteriorated and is second from bottom of the table. Ireland’s cleanest town will be announced at a ceremony in Dublin later today.
To mark its top ten position, Ballincollig will receive a number of birch trees for planting locally. These are provided by the Irish Tree Centre, an IBAL member based in County Cork (www.treecentre.ie).
*(An Taisce comments at end of press release)
In IBAL’s view, a clean Ireland is critical to enhancing our international reputation. “This continuing improvement in a time of cutbacks shows what we can do in spite of smaller budgets,” comments Tom Cavanagh, Chairman of IBAL. “We applaud the many local authorities who have now become more efficient in dealing with litter. The majority of towns have achieved a standard of cleanliness which enhances their appeal as tourist and investment destinations. Furthermore, a well presented town improves the lifestyle and uplifts the morale of its citizens.”
IBAL is inviting citizens to submit photos of litter blackspots in Cork as part of a “litter twitter” campaign to alert local authorities to litter-ridden areas. Photos can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org and IBAL can be followed at twitter.com/litterspotter. “We’ll be forwarding pictures on to local authorities and pressing them to address these blackspots,” said Dr Cavanagh.
Of the 53 towns surveyed by IBAL, 39, or 74%, were judged litter-free, a record percentage since the League began in 2002, when only two towns were litter-free. Unlike last year, no town was classed as a litter blackspot, with Portlaoise the only town to receive a ‘seriously littered’ grading. The winning town will be selected from a shortlist comprising Carlow, Drogheda, Longford, Trim and Wexford.
Like Cork City, Dublin fared poorly in a lowly 50th position. An Taisce, who carried out the survey on behalf of IBAL, slammed the “long-term neglect and abuse” evident in many sites and pinpointed 6 litter blackspots in both Dublin and Cork.
Chewing gum continues to blight what are otherwise clean areas, with IBAL citing the example of Killarney. “Killarney’s town centre is a model for others to follow, with horse fouling now a thing of the past, and attractive, newly-paved streets. Sadly, the unsightly gum on the new pavements is tarnishing the overall environment. The town should take a stand against the gum manufacturers on this, and IBAL would help in this,” said Dr Cavanagh. “Killarney is too important a tourist destination to do nothing about it.”