Cork Harbour is one of the three most heavily littered waterways in Ireland, according to a study.
The harbour, near Midleton, is “subject to dumping, with heavy levels of land-based food related items and large numbers of traffic cones and household appliances discarded in the water”, according to the latest survey from Irish Business Against Litter (IBAL).
Nearby Blackrock Castle also saw “heavy levels of plastic bottles, plastic bags, cans, food, and sweet wrappers and large pieces of plastic” in evidence, together with “several plastic bags of rubbish and other miscellaneous items dumped adjacent to the coast”.
The IBAL survey, carried out by the environmental education unit of heritage body An Taisce, suggests that just one in six (17%) of the 42 beaches, harbours, and waterways inspected could be deemed ‘clean’, while 14% could be classified as either ‘littered’ or ‘heavily littered’.
The two other heavily littered areas accompanying Cork Harbour, as noted by the survey, are the River Barrow at Carlow Town, and the River Tolka at Annesley Bridge in Dublin’s north city.
The vast majority of the monitored areas were deemed as being ‘moderately littered’, and included such tourist hotspots as Ballybunion beach in Co Kerry, Bundoran in Co Donegal, and the River Corrib in Galway City.
Cork locations however dominate the list of littered areas, with no entries on the ‘clean’ list, and eight mentions, or 23%, on the polluted list, at differing levels on the scale.
Dublin, with 17.1% of littered spots, and Kerry and Wicklow, with 8.6% apiece, are the next in line for what is no doubt an unwanted accolade.
Conor Horgan, spokesman for IBAL, said the latest survey shows a clear distinction between the standard of upkeep in Irish towns and the country’s waterways and harbours.
“Our regular surveys consistently show 80% of our towns to be clean,” said Mr Horgan. “We cannot say the same for our beaches and waterways.”
On a more positive note, Curracloe beach in Co Wexford and Salthill in Co Galway were among the seven areas deemed by the survey as being fully clean, with the famous Leinster beach in particular described as presenting a “virtual absence of litter”.