The first post-lockdown survey by Irish Business Against Litter shows Ennis again in 3rd position in the ranking of 40 areas nationwide.
While the majority of our towns have cleaned up over the past 12 months, litter in our main cities has worsened to levels not seen in ten years. Portlaoise emerged as cleanest town. The study found no fall-off in PPE litter across the country.
The An Taisce report for Ennis stated: “Another excellent showing for Ennis, cementing its position among the cleanest towns in the country. There were no heavily littered sites. There was plenty of repaving of the town centre sites (e.g., Parnell Street, see below), including many of the laneways off the main shopping streets – these laneways looked great.
Despite ‘works’ taking place at Tim Smythe Park and Abbey Street Car Park, they didn’t impact in any negative way on the litter situation – these sites were particularly freshly presented and maintained. Top-ranking sites included Clare Museum environs and Abbey Street – both were spotless.”
The number of areas deemed clean by An Taisce, who carry out the survey on behalf of IBAL, rose from 17 to 23. In all, 68% of towns showed an improvement on last year. Portlaoise, which was at the very foot of the table back in 2010, topped the rankings, ahead of Leixlip and past winner Ennis.
IBAL’s Conor Horgan commented: “With local authority cleaning schedules normalising again and volunteer groups re-engaged in clean-ups across the country, our towns are almost as clean as 2 years ago. This is still some way short of where they were in 2014, however.”
By contrast, the majority of urban areas fared worse than in 2020, among them Dublin, Cork and Limerick City Centres, which were all deemed ‘littered’.
The study showed a near-30% increase in the prevalence of PPE masks on our streets and an increase in alcohol-related litter such as cans and bottles.
“The need for PPE has not abated – unfortunately we’re still using disposable masks, we’re still dropping them at an alarming rate and they are still not being picked up,“ says Conor Horgan. “We are consuming more outdoors and this is translating into more food- and drink-related litter.” Despite this, the survey showed a 20% drop in coffee cup litter. There was also a steep fall-off in cigarette butts.
IBAL was once again critical of the failure of local authorities to address sites which they have previously highlighted as heavily littered, especially in urban areas. Of the 103 such sites exposed last year, fewer than half have been cleaned up in 2021.
2021 is the 19th year of the IBAL Anti-Litter League.