Littering of disadvantaged city areas is getting worse, a new survey has found.
Business group Irish Business Against Litter said pockets of Cork, Galway and Dublin are more heavily littered than in previous surveys with five areas classed as ‘littered’ or ‘seriously littered’.
While Dublin City centre was clean and Cork City was deemed clean to European norms, the north inner city area of the capital, and Ballymun were “heavily littered”, Cork’s northside and Mahon on the southside were deemed littered, with Ballybane in Galway city ranked bottom, and deemed seriously littered.
An Taisce assessed litter in 40 cities and towns in the summer and deemed Fermoy in Cork to be the cleanest. It said it is “rare to visit a town with an almost complete absence of litter”.
It was followed by Nenagh, Co Tipperary, Ennis, Co Clare, the Dublin Airport environs and Longford. Navan, Co Meath, showed the greatest improvement, in rankings, rising 20 places.
And while the survey deemed 77% of all towns and cities clean, Conor Horgan of the anti-litter group said they have seen a worsening of litter levels in economically disadvantaged areas.
“Our surveys have consistently revealed a disparity in cleanliness between our city centres on the one hand, and neglected city areas on the other,” Mr Horgan said.
“This disparity has never been more acute than this year. Our city centres are cleaner, while disadvantaged urban areas are more littered. What is often lacking in these areas is a sense of ‘pride in place’, which in turn reflects an absence of real community.”
He also said it is frustrating to see many of the littered sites cropping up again.
The delivery of mixed-housing and community-building would help with the solution to the urban litter problem, he said.
The anti-litter group says while the costs for the litter enforcement service have risen over the past six years, the revenues collected have halved from €1.7m to €0.84m.
“This represents a pitiful return on taxpayers’ money and should be addressed,” Mr Horgan said.