[Audio] Litter survey says Cork City is clean

6th January 2014
By Bryan T. Smyth

All Cork areas surveyed in Irish Business Against Litter’s Anti-Litter
League for 2013 have been deemed clean, with Fermoy the only town to
reach the status of ‘Cleaner than European norms’. Shandon/Blackpool
and Midleton were in 20th and 31st positions respectively in the table
of 42 towns and cities, while Cork City, in 35th, improved on its
‘moderately littered’ ranking of 2012. Ireland’s cleanest town will be
announced at an awards ceremony in Dublin later today.

An Taisce, who were commissioned by IBAL to carry out the survey,
reported “An improvement for Cork City, which just makes the grade as
Clean to European Norms, but is the least clean of Ireland’s cities.
The city centre streets were excellent (St. Patrick’s Street, Oliver
Plunkett Street and Pembroke Street). The two litter Blackspots have
featured several times in previous IBAL Anti-Litter surveys – Victoria
Cross Residents Car Park and North Ring Road – there are long-term
issues here which need to be tackled. The Recycle Facility at
Ballyvolane Shopping Centre and Vita Clean were both seriously

Of Shandon/Blackpool, An Taisce stated: “A great result for Shandon /
Blackpool – the people and Cork City Council can be proud. There were
no seriously littered sites in Shandon / Blackpool this time around –
there was just one in IBAL Survey 1, 2013. The top ranking sites were
not just clear of litter but well presented and maintained e.g. Great
William O’Brien Street, Shandon Street and the approach roads were in
very good order. With a little extra effort Shandon Bridge and
Environs could be a top ranking site.”

Of Fermoy, An Taisce added: “Fermoy was not as clean as previous IBAL
Anti-Litter surveys. There were still seven top ranking sites. Some
of these scored particularly well, considering the Flood Relief
Programme e.g. Tallow Approach Road and Mill Road – O’Neill-Crowley
Quay. College Road, the residential area of Baile Ard and Pike Road
were all moderately littered – it was the plastic bottles and
fast-food packaging at all these sites which brought down the litter

Regarding Midleton: “A satisfactory result for Midleton, but only just
falls within Clean to European Norms classification. Surveyor noted
that all 3 of the approach roads there was a Midleton specific issue
of temporary signage / advertising – can the local authority address
this issue? It is not repeated in any other towns – why? Surveyor
remarked that Church Lane was in a much better state than previous
IBAL Anti-Litter surveys – hopefully this can be sustained. The
residential are of Broomfield Court / Broomfield Village was nicely
presented and maintained. The Northern Relief Road was by far the
most heavily littered site surveyed in Midleton.”

The Anti-Litter League survey of 42 towns and cities, showed that 19
were cleaner than the European average, with a further 16 in line with
the average. All of Ireland’s cities were clean in 2013, with
Limerick, this year’s City of Culture, among those areas registering
an improvement. Dublin City was Clean to European Norms for the first
time in 18 years of monitoring.

The number of vacant properties in Ireland’s towns, which IBAL says
tend to attract litter and detract from the visual landscape, is a
growing concern. A snapshot survey by An Taisce shows as many as
one–third of commercial properties in our towns are empty, with the
average rate at just over 20%. While initiatives such as pop-up shops,
decorative murals and incentives for start-ups are helping to minimise
the negative impact of unoccupied units, IBAL believes a more
concerted effort is required by local government to tackle this
growing threat to our streetscapes.

Public parks, approach roads and recycling areas (62% of which were
littered) had above-average levels of litter, with sweet papers,
cigarette butts, fast food packaging and chewing gum the most common
forms of litter last year. IBAL views the persistent problem of gum on
pavements as negating the impact of our cleaner streets. “Faced with
the power of the gum lobby, our Government is failing to act for the
common good, by protecting the profits of the gum industry over the
environment in which people live,” says Dr Cavanagh.

Press play to listen Conor Horgan, spokesperson for IBAL discuss the survey results for Cork.


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