The latest survey by business group Irish Business Against Litter (IBAL) shows Longford town again among Ireland’s cleanest towns in the ranking of 40 towns and cities.
Both Roscommon and Longford have retained their Cleaner than European Norms designation, in 3rd and 5th spot respectively.
Over 90% of rural towns surveyed were deemed clean, while Dublin, Cork and Galway city centres all scored well. IBAL says a lack of community involvement explains why certain disadvantaged urban areas continue to be plagued by litter despite improvements elsewhere.
The An Taisce report for Longford stated: “Longford , winner 2 years ago, bounces back to a top five position, thanks to an absence of heavily littered sites. All approach routes into Longford were in very good order, creating a very positive first impression of the town.
"This high standard was maintained for almost all the remaining sites surveyed in Longford. St. Mel’s Cathedral was immaculate and the residential area of White Linen Woods/Druids Glen wasn’t just clear of litter but was a very well cared for and respected environment. The River Camlin site was also top ranking.”
An Taisce assess litter levels in 40 towns and cities on behalf of IBAL. 80% of areas were found to be clean, with a top tier of 16 towns deemed “cleaner than European Norms”. Tullamore topped the rankings, followed by Dublin Airport Environs and Leixlip. Once again there was a wide gap between towns and disadvantaged city areas, with the latter occupying the bottom 6 places in the ranking.
Mr. Denis Naughten TD, Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment welcomed the Irish Business Against Litter (IBAL) latest survey results, congratulating those involved.
These results are the best ever to emerge from the IBAL Survey with 80% of towns and cities in Ireland found to be as clean as, or cleaner than, their European counterparts. 16 Towns were cleaner than European norms.
“In the 16 years we have been conducting these surveys, this is possibly our best result,” says Conor Horgan of IBAL. “Across the board we have seen improvements. The news is all the more positive given the importance of how we present our country over the summer months, when we attract over 40% of our visitors.”
“Be it in cities or in towns, we enjoy a much cleaner environment than 15 years ago, but litter has not gone away,“ warns Conor Horgan. “This summer we again had examples of extreme littering on beaches for examples, which display a worrying indifference to the natural environment. Marine litter is a source of great concern at present and an issue IBAL may concentrate more on in the future.
“Also, dumping appears to be on the increase, and the more we ask people to pay for waste disposal the greater an issue it is likely to become. It may not be as widespread, but dumping is the new litter in many respects.”
85% of 32 tourist sites around the country surveyed were clean, among them St Mel's Cathedral in Longford and Roscommon Castle, with the remainder exhibiting small amounts of litter.
While heritage amenities, shopping centres and main streets were found to be particularly clean, train and bus stations and recycle facilities were the locations most likely to be littered.