The research, carried out on behalf of anti-litter lobby IBAL (Irish Business Against Litter), found almost six in 10 of our towns are “clean to the European norms”. In other words, when it comes to flicking away cigarette butts, spitting up chewing gum and dumping takeaway wrappers and cans, we are no less irresponsible than many other Europeans.
The survey found an almost 10-fold improvement in the number of towns deemed “clean to European norms” compared to six years ago. Among them is Dublin City, with the notable exception of Tallaght. It remains one of the capital’s litter blackspots, and has sunk to the foot of the litter-league table from the lowly position last year of third from the bottom.
Dublin is ranked 16th of the 55 areas surveyed nationwide. In all, a record 32 towns have achieved litter-free status, with Ennis claiming the title of Ireland’s cleanest town.
The An Taisce inspectors who carried out the survey, found supermarket car parks to be a particular source of litter, with Lidl, Dunnes and Tesco all cited as magnets for litter in different areas.
Last year’s IBAL survey found fast-food packaging was the most common form of litter and was rising by almost a third each year.
The number of blackspots fell from four to three: Tallaght, Roscommon and Tullamore. The north Cork town of Mallow, a litter blackspot in 2007, has shed the ignominious title and is in the same “littered” category as 45th-ranked Cork city, five places ahead of “seriously littered” Cobh.
IBAL chairman Dr Tom Cavanagh said: “The cities of Limerick, Kilkenny and especially Cork have slipped backwards, as has Galway to a lesser extent.
While two-thirds of sites in Dublin were “Clean to European Norms“, this was the case in only one third of sites surveyed in Cork city.”