The new pay-by-weight refuse collection system is in danger of leading to more people dumping their waste, say the organisers of a national anti-litter survey.
The claims from Irish Business Against Litter (IBAL) come after two suburbs in Cork and Limerick emerged as the most littered. Farranree on Cork’s northside is the only one of 40 cities, towns, and suburbs deemed a litter blackspot.
Rather than just everyday litter, the latest survey by An Taisce for IBAL found the worst parts of Farranree were targeted by dumpers.
“The area’s three litter blackspots didn’t get into this state overnight. They weren’t just littered but subject to dumping and long-term neglect and abuse,” said the An Taisce report.
It surveyed 25 towns, as well as the country’s cities and some suburban areas, with Kilkenny topping the table four a fourth time. It is one of 12 areas designated by IBAL as cleaner than European norms, with Enniscorthy, Co Wexford, and Kildare Town tied for second place, followed by Waterford City and Carlow Town.
Dumping also featured prominently in the report on Galvone in Limerick City, branded as seriously littered, the category just above being a litter blackspot. Four areas described as littered were Cork’s southside suburb of Mahon; Castlebar, Co Mayo; Dublin’s north inner city; and Ballymun in Dublin, where dumping was found in several locations.
Although litter is subsiding, dumping is rising, prompting IBAL to fear that next year’s introduction of mandatory pay-by-weight refuse collection will “inevitably” lead to more dumping.
“We would be especially concerned that the experience of this summer will set the public against the charges when they come in next year. This can only be harmful to our environment,” said IBAL’s Conor Horgan.
Dublin and Cork city centres (18th and 23rd, respectively) were among 19 places that were “clean to European norms”. IBAL said it was a return to the capital’s best ever result, with Temple Bar, Grafton St, O’Connell St, and Christchurch getting top marks.
Improvements were seen in Athlone, Portlaoise, and Ennis, previously categorised as littered, and Maynooth jumped 19 places to eighth. But Longford Town, last year’s overall winner, has slipped to 13th place.
Mr Horgan said city centres are generally well maintained, but disadvantaged areas continue to be the source of much of the litter. He called on councils to look at a community-wide response to target areas with the worst problems.
Meanwhile, nearly half of over 1,300 people surveyed by Repak have deliberately placed contaminated items in their recycling bin. One in four never rinse or clean out liquids from containers, but their potential to leak onto other dry recyclables means the entire bin is at risk of being sent to landfill due to contamination.
The packaging recycling organisation said contamination caused more than 100,000 tonnes of paper, cardboard, plastic, glass, metallic and other types of packaging to be sent to landfill in 2015.
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