Cavan now 'cleaner' than European norms

Cavan ranking is the largest single improvement by a county town nationally.

Cavan has moved up to third place nationally, and hailed as 'Cleaner than European Norms' in the latest iteration of the Irish Business Against Litter (IBAL) litter league.

It is a major achievement for the county town which regained its 'Clean' status towards the end of 2021, having been labelled 'moderately littered' in October.

The final survey of 2021 saw Cavan leap from 26th overall to 17th, and now in the latest publication, the county town proudly sits just two spots from the top- behind only Naas in Kildare and Letterkenny in Donegal.

Naas also finished top of the leaderboard at the end of last year.

But the new Cavan ranking is the largest single improvement by a county town nationally.

This year (2022) marks the 20th year for IBAL litter surveys.

IBAL says there has been a “sharp fall” in the number of litter blackspots across the country, with PPE litter on the decrease. The prevalence of PPE masks fell sharply compared to the previous survey, present in 17% of sites examined, compared to 32% in 2021.

There was also a fall-off in alcohol-related litter, and there was an improvement in the state of public parks, 80% of which were found clean.

Recycle centres were also cleaner.

But issues remain. Coffee cup litter remained high, evident in one quarter of all sites surveyed, with IBAL lobbying that tackling the issue still warranted action such as the introduction of a possible levy.

Neighbouring Monaghan jumped an impressive eight places to 12th from 20th at the end of last year. They now sit tenth overall, up two places, and like Cavan, rank 'Cleaner then European Norms'.

Overall litter levels showed a decrease on last year, with a dramatic fall of 50% in the number of sites within towns deemed to be ‘litter blackspots’.

Only two areas – Drogheda in Louth and Ballybane in Galway – were categorised as ‘Seriously littered’.

The latest IBAL survey further suggests that Ireland is seeing a return to normality post-Covid.

“With cleaning schedules back to normal, less PPE litter and less alcohol consumption outdoors, litter levels have fallen,” says IBAL spokesperson Conor Horgan. “However, despite improvements, the centres of our main cities are still littered at a time when we are welcoming our peak tourist numbers. For a high-cost destination, higher standards are required.”