According to Irish Business Against Litter (IBAL), despite the fall-off, no towns were deemed ‘litter blackspots’ in 2015 and only one ‘seriously littered’, of the 40 towns and cities surveyed.
The business group’s survey revealed that cities are improving, although Dublin’s north inner city and Cork’s Farranree remain littered.
Three quarters of the towns and cities were found to be clean to European norms — a fall of 15% on last year.
Similarly, the number of towns deemed cleaner than European norms fell from 17 to 12.
However, the most littered areas have improved. For example, Farranree is no longer deemed a litter blackspot and Dublin’s north inner city has shed its ‘seriously littered’ tag.
The cities of Limerick, Galway and Cork were all clean, with Waterford deemed cleaner than European norms.
Drogheda, Dún Laoghaire, Dungarvan, Longford and last year’s winner, Kilkenny, are vying for the title of Ireland’s cleanest town. The winner will be announced today.
A report on Dublin’s north inner city found that sites at Gardiner Street Business Park and Rutland St Lower were the only litter blackspots, and that “with more effort, the many moderately littered sites could become litter-free.”
However, its report on Farranree said that “the poor sites weren’t just casually littered, but many of them had been subjected to either dumping or long-term neglect, and sometimes a mixture of both.”
Recycling facilities and disused or abandoned sites were most prone to litter, with two-thirds littered or worse, followed by promenades and river walks.
Commenting on the latest results, Conor Horgan, of IBAL, said that, after a decade of year-on-year improvement, it was disappointing to see the very high standards achieved by some towns slipping.
“We may be witnessing the effect of the disappearance of town councils, or we may be getting slightly complacent. At the same time, we can say the great majority of our towns are clean.
“Also, it is heartening to see the problem city areas getting better — if only slowly,” he said.
Mr Horgan also said that despite the publicity it has received on previous bad showings, there hasn’t been enough improvement in Farranree.
“There are dozens of Farranrees in Ireland — disadvantaged urban areas where not enough priority is placed by councils on tackling litter, and which will be the subject of future surveys,” he said.