The Irish Business Against Litter group has proposed a national “Adopt a Road” scheme whereby businesses would finance the cleaning of stretches of national routes in return for getting their name on road signage.
IBAL chairman Tom Cavanagh said such a scheme was necessary to ensure the country was kept clean because of cutbacks in public spending on many areas, including roads.
Dr Cavanagh said more than 70% of towns were now considered “litter free” compared to just two towns when the annual IBAL Anti-Litter League began in 2002. However, he was concerned that approach roads and key routes outside of urban centres are highly likely to be littered.
He claimed “Adopt a Road” schemes had proven successful in other countries, such as in the US, where they have operated for over 20 years.
He said that Ballymaloe Country Relish, a member of IBAL, is already financing the clean-up of stretches of the N25 near Midleton, Co Cork.
He recommended that one of the areas to benefit from such a scheme would be approach roads to airports, such as Dublin Airport from which 39 tonnes of litter were removed in a clean-up last year.
Announcing details of the 2011 Anti-Litter League in Dublin, which was launched by Environment Minister Phil Hogan yesterday, Dr Cavanagh said the latest annual survey will see a greater emphasis placed on neglected city areas.
The 2011 league will rank 53 towns and cities according to their litter levels. New entrants in this year’s litter survey will be Dublin Airport, Dublin’s north inner city and the Cork suburb of Knocknaheeny.
Dr Cavanagh said there needed to be a focus on areas of social disadvantage as they tend to have higher litter levels than city centres.
He recalled that a recent study of Knocknaheeny by Barnardos had highlighted how litter was the issue most local people disliked about their locality.
Other new towns included in this year’s IBAL league are: Gorey, Co Wexford; Maynooth, Co Kildare; and Tipperary town.
Areas that will not be included are Blanchardstown and Lucan, Co Dublin; Newbridge, Co Kildare; Enniscorthy, Co Wexford and Midleton, Co Cork.
Carlow will be hoping to hold on to its 2010 title as Ireland’s cleanest town.
IBAL has encouraged people to email photos of litter blackspots as part of a “litter twitter” campaign to alert local authorities about problem areas. Photos can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.