Cities are beginning to clean up their acts and 13 major urban areas are now deemed to be less littered than the European average.
These are the findings of the latest Irish Businesses Against Litter (IBAL) survey which shows that while cities are still not litter-free they are showing a marked improvement, but more needs to be done to clean up routes between major towns.
The 13 major urban areas which have been given a great review include Tullamore, Navan, Wexford, Clonmel, Letterkenny, Killarney and Waterford.
However, IBAL has said Dublin’s north inner city remains seriously littered, but improving, while Cork northside suburb Farranree is deemed a bottom-of-the-pile ‘litter blackspot’.
The findings in IBAL’s end-of-year survey of 40 urban centres, shows 85% were clean to European standards.
“This was the first time in our survey that we found a marked improvement in Dublin’s north inner city, with a threefold increase in litter-free sites, and that could be a turning point,” said IBAL spokesperson Conor Horgan.
“Dublin City Council made it clear some months ago that a concerted effort would be invested in cleaning up this area and the first fruits of that work are already evident. We look forward to the inner city being clean to European norms in 2015, which would be a huge boost for our capital.”
The report, carried out by An Taisce representatives, noted Sheriff St, Poplar Row and Buckingham St were seriously littered, as was the area around Seville Place.
Mr Horgan said there had been a significant improvement around Dublin Airport.
While over half the sites surveyed in Dublin city received the top cleanliness billing, there were blackposts, notably at Amiens Street “in a terrible state”, and basements in Parnell Square, which suffered from “long-term neglect and dumping.”
Cork’s Farranree failed to improve on a poor showing earlier in the year and An Taisce described it as “not just littered but subjected to dumping and neglect”.
The surveyor criticised “a constant stream of heavy levels of a wide variety of litter” at Popham’s Road, while Fair Green was exhibiting levels of litter “which could become health hazard”.
A number of connecting routes between urban centres were criticised, especially the Dundalk-Drogheda and Fermoy-Cork roads.
While Cavan was pristine, the road between it and Monaghan “suffered from food-related litter”.
“With Fáilte Ireland looking to increase our tourist numbers in 2015 by almost 40,000 each month, we should set our sights on being among the cleanest countries to visit,” Mr Horgan said.
The country’s cleanest town will be unveiled today at an awards ceremony at Dublin’s Shelbourne Hotel.
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