The summer survey of litter levels by Irish Business Against Litter has seen both Waterford City Centre and Ballybeg improve in the ranking of 40 towns and cities.
Waterford City is in 10th spot, and deemed “Cleaner than European Norms”, while Ballybeg climbed 6 places to 21 and retains its “Clean to European Norms’ status.
The latest survey found that while Ireland’s towns and city centres are clean, disadvantaged areas of cities are suffering increasing levels of litter.
An Taisce assessed litter levels over the summer months on behalf of IBAL. 77% of towns and cities were found to be clean. None was deemed a litter blackspot, but five were ‘littered’ or ‘seriously littered’ and scored worse than last year. Fermoy in Cork was the cleanest of the towns surveyed.
The An Taisce report stated: “Again Ireland’s cleanest city, Waterford City had several top ranking sites that deserve a special mention e.g. Cathedral Square and Environs was attractively landscaped and scored very well with regard to litter; O’Connell Street looked very well with the wide paving creating a great sense of space; Waterford Train Station (Interior and Exterior) wasn’t just clear of litter but great care has been taken with the presentation of same, including abundant flower planting; The People’s Park was very well maintained and St. Declan’s National School was spotless. Clearly a careful eye is kept on the vacant sites at 15/16 Broad Street as there was no litter directly associated with same. Thomas Street wasn’t just casually littered - there was dumping e.g. furniture and electrical items.”
The report for Ballybeg stated “Of all the city areas surveyed, Ballybeg was again among the best. Many of the residential areas scored well with regard to litter and general presentation e.g. Meadowbank, Priory Lawn and Glencara. Other top ranking sites included Ballybeg Community Development Project and St. Saviours GAA Club. There were two heavily littered sites, both of which appeared not just littered but neglected – derelict allotments beside the Community Centre have been used for dumping carpets and car items. Green Lane wasn’t just casually littered but shrubbery area harboured broken toys and household items. Both heavily littered sites were somewhat hidden away and as a result of this probably more prone to dumping behaviour.”
While Dublin City Centre was clean, registering one of its best ever results, the North Inner City and Ballymun both deteriorated and were ‘heavily littered’. Cork City‘s Northside and Mahon also showed higher levels of litter, as did Ballybane in Galway city, which was bottom of the rankings.
The most recent statistics available on litter enforcement show the cost of litter wardens is 10 times greater than the revenue collected through litter fines. While the cost of the service has risen over the past 6 years, the revenues collected have halved from €1.7m to €0.84m. “By any measure, this represents a pitiful return on taxpayers’ money and should be addressed. These resources could be put to better use elsewhere.” says Horgan.