According to the final litter survey of 2018 by business group Irish Business Against Litter (IBAL), Ennis is ‘Clean’ but has slipped to 22nd spot in the ranking of 40 town and cities. While almost all of Ireland’s main towns are clean, pockets of our cities continue to be littered and are not improving.
An Taisce, who carry out the surveys on behalf of IBAL, commented in its Ennis report: “A small number of littered sites was enough to take Ennis down the rankings in 2018. By far the most heavily littered was Ennis Train and Bus Station – as well as scattered litter there were areas of heavy accumulations, especially where the buses reverse to park.
Some of the top ranking sites included Ennis Tourist Office & Franciscan Church, Roselevan Shopping Centre, O’Connell Street and Market Square / Market Place / Lower Market Street – these areas were not just good with regard to litter but also well presented and maintained.”
Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment Richard Bruton, will present the awards at a ceremony today, crowning Fermoy as the cleanest town among those ranked according to litter levels in 2018, with Waterford City again Ireland’s cleanest city.
Minister Bruton said, “Combating litter is part of a much wider challenge – how we use our resources effectively and adapt to recognise environmental damage more generally. Litter is a very tangible, visible example of the kind of damage that is being done. It is vital that communities, businesses and local authorities in towns all across Ireland, work together to manage waste properly and reduce litter. I hope the recognition these awards provide spur others on to come together to make changes in their local areas.”
Fermoy’s success, last achieved in 2007, will be marked by a specially commissioned public sculpture in the town this year to the value of €40,000.
Just under 90% of towns surveyed were deemed clean, a slight improvement on the previous year, with Athlone and Killarney finishing just behind Fermoy. While Galway City registered its best result in years, almost half of city areas were littered, among them Ballybane in Galway and Dublin’s North Inner City, which were both ‘seriously littered’.
Disadvantaged urban areas occupied the bottom five places in the rankings. “Three years ago we deliberately shone a spotlight on specific city areas in the hope that the attention would spur councils and communities into action,” commented Conor Horgan of IBAL. “It is fair to say we have seen no noticeable improvement in any of these areas – nor have we seen much by way of substantial measures to them turn around.”
“The historic development of large areas of social housing has shaped a “them and us” society and the gap is widening. Litter is a symptom of a greater malaise and keeping these areas as clean and well presented as the rest of a city would over time have significant benefits. We need local authorities to take the lead.”
As runners-up, Athlone and Killarney will each receive a number of Norway maple trees to enhance the local environment, courtesy of the Irish Tree Centre in Cork.