The final litter survey of 2015 by Irish Business Against Litter shows Cavan to be Clean to European Norms, in 12th spot among the 40 towns surveyed, while Monaghan is ‘moderately littered’ in 31st.
Both towns have slipped down the rankings since the 2014 survey when they finished 2nd and 12th respectively. There was a slight fall-off in the number of litter-free towns across Ireland, but no towns were deemed ‘litter blackspots’ and only one was ‘seriously littered’. The winning town will be announced at a function at lunchtime today in Buswells Hotel in Dublin.
An Taisce report for Cavan stated: “The approach roads to Cavan all got the top litter grade and this high standard was sustained for many of the town centre sites. Farnham Street was a particularly well presented site. Great care has been made with the presentation of Town Hall Street and it looked very well.”
The report for Monaghan stated: “There were some very nicely presented and maintained sites in Monaghan and some of the top ranking sites included The Diamond (which was in excellent order), Monaghan Town Council Car Park and Monaghan Shopping Centre Car Park. N2 Dublin Approach Road was in good order and Oriel Filling station which had previous been a littered site was in much better shape. However, the Diamond Centre was seriously littered, and not for the first time – clearly this site requires more attention and it will only deteriorate further if not addressed.”
Three quarters of the towns and cities surveyed by An Taisce on behalf of IBAL were found to be Clean to European Norms, a fall of 15% on last year. Likewise, the number of towns deemed Cleaner than European Norms fell from 17 to 12. However, the most littered areas have improved, with Farranree in Cork no longer a litter blackspot and Dublin’s North Inner City shedding its ‘seriously littered’ tag. The cities of Limerick, Galway and Cork were all clean, with Waterford deemed Cleaner than European Norms.
Drogheda, Dun Laoghaire, Dungarvan, Longford and last year’s winner Kilkenny are vying for the title of Ireland’s cleanest town, to be revealed later today.
“After a decade of year-on-year improvement, it is disappointing to see the very high standards achieved by towns slip in a number of cases,“ comments Conor Horgan of IBAL. “We may be witnessing the effect of the disappearance of town councils, or we may be getting slightly complacent. At the same time, we can say the great majority of our towns are clean. Also, it is heartening to see the problem city areas getting better - if only slowly.”
Across the country, recycling facilities (invariably the responsibility of the county council) and disused or abandoned sites were the sites most prone to litter, with two thirds found to be littered or worse, followed by promenades and river walks.
“As the economy recovers, there are signs that the number of vacant or disused sites is declining, which augers well for a clean environment,” says Horgan. “In other instances we have seen abandoned sites being put to novel uses, such as inner city gardens. We would like to see more of this, as the benefit it brings to the community can go well beyond cleanliness.”
Connecting routes between towns were more littered than the towns themselves. The route from Killarney to Tralee was heavily littered, and brought down the town’s ranking. The Naas-Dublin road suffered from ‘persistent litter’.