Big Tom & Margo

A Love That's Lasted Through The Years

Four Midlands Towns Rank In Top 15 In Anti-Litter Survey

Athlone was only beaten by Kilkenny in the annual IBAL survey.

Four midlands towns are ranked in the top fifteen for cleanliness in Ireland.

Athlone sits at two, Portlaoise at four, Mullingar at eleven and Tullamore is 14th in the annual Irish Business Against Litter survey.  

That means all are clean to European norms, with Athlone and Portlaoise cleaner than the European average. 

IBAL work with An Taisce to monitor Irish towns in accordance with European standards to prepare the table each year. 

The rise in litter levels this year is across the board,” says IBAL’s Conor Horgan. “The Covid crisis has seen more dumping, more outdoor socialising, especially drinking, and PPE litter, but less cleaning by local authorities and less activity by volunteers like Tidy Towns -  a perfect storm, in many ways, which has brought us to the worst position we’ve been in in over 10 years.”  

In the fight against Covid-19, local authorities have curtailed cleaning schedules and diverted resources to other areas. At the same time, households have been generating more litter during lockdown and there has been a visible increase in drinking outdoors as pubs are closed, a fact borne out by the rise in bottles and cans found by the An Taisce inspectors, Galway City being one example. However, there was a reduction in cigarette butts, perhaps also a reflection of pubs and offices being closed. Half of all recycle facilities surveyed were heavily littered, another likely consequence of the Covid crisis.

PPE litter was prevalent across the country, with masks 5 times as common as gloves. “Understandably, people are reluctant to pick up these items for fear of contracting Covid, so they tend to stay on the ground. We need to see a rapid rise in the use of reusable masks,” says Conor Horgan.

The number of very bad sites within towns explained the overall deterioration in cleanliness. “It is a source of particular frustration that those sites which we had identified last year as heavily littered were – for the most part - not cleaned up in the interim.” Of 61 sites described as either heavily littered or blackspots in 2019, fewer than 40% were clean in this latest survey. “We’ve been saying for years that the most immediate way to improve a town or city is to focus on the bad areas - clearly this is not being done.”

“In these exceptional times, when councils’ resources are stretched, civic responsibility is called for more than ever,” says Conor Horgan. “The mantra ‘we’re all in this together’ extends to the proper disposal of waste, not least waste that is prone to contamination.  With fewer people available or willing to pick up litter, the message has to be ‘don’t litter in the first place.’”

2020 IBAL ANTI-LITTER LEAGUE – ROUND 1

Position

Area

Classification

1

Kilkenny

Cleaner than European Norms

2

Athlone

Cleaner than European Norms

3

Killarney

Cleaner than European Norms

4

Portlaoise

Cleaner than European Norms

5

Maynooth

Cleaner than European Norms

6

Ennis

Cleaner than European Norms

7

Roscommon

Cleaner than European Norms

8

Fermoy

Cleaner than European Norms

9

Waterford City Centre

Cleaner than European Norms

10

Newbridge

Clean to European Norms

T11

Castlebar

Clean to European Norms

T11

Mullingar

Clean to European Norms

13

Dublin Airport Environs

Clean to European Norms

14

Tullamore

Clean to European Norms

15

Tralee

Clean to European Norms

16

Letterkenny

Clean to European Norms

17

Cork City Centre

Clean to European Norms

18

Sligo

Clean to European Norms

T19

Bray

Clean to European Norms

T19

Ranelagh

Clean to European Norms

21

Drogheda

Clean to European Norms

22

Waterford City - Ballybeg

Clean to European Norms

23

Cavan

Clean to European Norms

24

Longford

Moderately littered

25

Monaghan

Moderately littered

26

Limerick City Centre

Moderately littered

27

Galway City Centre

Moderately littered

28

Dundalk

Moderately littered

29

Mahon - Cork City

Moderately littered

30

Gorey

Moderately littered

31

Navan

 

People are being asked to be aware of how they dispose of facemasks, after the publication of the survey.

There's been a

More from Midlands News

Stay Tuned

Never miss a moment from Midlands 103

  • Available on the App Store
  • Available on Google Play
  • Just ask Amazon Alexa