Longford is ranked 'Cleaner than European Norms'
The summer survey of litter levels by Irish Business Against Litter has seen Longford climb to 5th in the ranking of 40 towns and cities and deemed “Cleaner than European Norms”.
The An Taisce report stated: “Longford has maintained its high ranking of recent years.The approach roads into the town were very good and this positive impression was sustained for the majority of the remaining sites which were surveyed.
"Particularly good top ranking sites included St Mel’s Cathedral and Environs, New Street and Dunnes Stores Car Park – these areas were not just good with regard to litter but were very well presented and maintained.”
The latest survey found that while Ireland’s towns and city centres are clean, disadvantaged areas of our cities are suffering increasing levels of litter.
IBAL sees more mixed housing as the long-term solution to our urban litter problem.
An Taisce assessed litter levels over the summer months on behalf of IBAL. 77% of towns and cities were found to be clean. None was deemed a litter blackspot, but five were ‘littered’ or ‘seriously littered’ and scored worse than last year. Fermoy in Cork was the cleanest of the towns surveyed.
“We have seen a worsening of litter levels in economically disadvantaged areas, which dominate the lower placings of our rankings,” says Conor Horgan of IBAL.
“What is often lacking in these areas is a sense of ‘pride in place’, which in turn reflects an absence of real community. In the frenzy to address our housing shortage, we must be mindful of the need to build communities along with houses. Mixed housing is the long-term solution to our urban litter problem.”
The An Taisce reports highlight the prevalence of “long lie” litter in sites as evidence of neglect over a long periods.
“In most cases the litter we encounter doesn’t appear overnight, but has been present over a long period,” continues Horgan. “It is frustrating to see our surveyors highlighting the same sites year-on-year with no evidence of clean up. It also bears out our contention that our litter problem is concentrated in areas that are being neglected by local authorities. A concerted effort to clean up these areas would contribute greatly to a cleaner environment.”
The most recent statistics available on litter enforcement show the cost of litter wardens is 10 times greater than the revenue collected through litter fines. While the cost of the service has risen over the past 6 years, the revenues collected have halved from €1.7m to €0.84m. “By any measure, this represents a pitiful return on taxpayers’ money and should be addressed. These resources could be put to better use elsewhere.” says Horgan.