The latest survey by Irish Business Against Litter shows Longford town improving to 5th spot in the ranking of 40 towns and cities.
Longford, a former winner of the IBAL League, has been slowly, steadily and impressively progressing up the table. Last October the town was 10th and in January of this year it secured an eighth place finish.
2022 marks the 20th year of the IBAL litter surveys and the study reveals PPE litter is on the decrease, but IBAL spokesperson Conor Horgan suggests that 'the prevalence of coffee cups on our streets warrants action such as a levy'.
Longford is 'Cleaner than European Norms' with the An Taisce report stating, "A former winner of the IBAL League, Longford scored very well this time around with eight out of the ten sites surveyed getting the top litter grade.
"Top ranking sites included the approach roads, the residential area of College Park, Blind Man’s Walk and the wonderful park environment at Albert Reynolds Peace Park - this is a lovely expanse of park space which has been beautifully presented and maintained, and very well respected by users. As with the previous survey, there were no heavily littered sites."
Two-thirds of the 40 towns and cities surveyed were found to be clean, among them Naas, which retained its position atop the rankings, ahead of Letterkenny and Cavan.
Overall litter levels showed a decrease on last year, with a dramatic fall of 50% in the number of sites within towns deemed to be ‘litter blackspots’.
Disadvantaged urban areas cleaning up
There was further improvement for Limerick South (Galvone). A ‘litter blackspot’ at the foot of the table for years, it was again deemed ‘littered’, while Dublin’s North Inner City recovered from ‘litter blackspot’ status last time to record one of its best results.
“We’ve been calling on local authorities to prioritise the very bad sites in a town or area and it seems this call has been heeded,” explained IBAL spokesperson Conor Horgan.
“We see the benefits especially in urban areas, where very heavy littering and dumping was at its worst. It’s early days, but there are signs that the disadvantaged areas we have focussed on are finally coming good, albeit from a low base.”
Fall in Covid-related litter … but coffee cup litter remains high
The prevalence of PPE masks fell sharply compared to the previous survey, present in 17% of sites examined, compared to 32% in 2021. There was also a fall-off in alcohol-related litter, which contributed to an improvement in the state of public parks, 80% of which were clean. Recycle centres were also cleaner. However, coffee cup litter remained high, evident in one quarter of all sites surveyed.
Former Ardagh and Longford footballer Liam Keenan is the new manager of Slashers this season and the sky-blues continued their good form with a hard earned win over Mostrim at Michael Fay Park on Saturday evening.
“The findings bear out the need for action on coffee cups,” contends Mr Horgan. “We must disincentivise the use of paper cups – even compostable or recyclable ones – as too many of them are ending up on the ground. In the light of our survey, the Government move towards a levy makes a lot of sense.”
The survey suggests that Ireland is seeing a return to normality post-Covid.
“With cleaning schedules back to normal, less PPE litter and less alcohol consumption outdoors, litter levels have fallen. However, despite improvements, the centres of our main cities are still littered at a time when we are welcoming our peak tourist numbers. There is a price to be paid for that,” concluded Mr Horgan.
Subscribe or register today to discover more from DonegalLive.ie
Buy the e-paper of the Donegal Democrat, Donegal People's Press, Donegal Post and Inish Times here for instant access to Donegal's premier news titles.
Keep up with the latest news from Donegal with our daily newsletter featuring the most important stories of the day delivered to your inbox every evening at 5pm.