The litter in Ireland’s cities is worse now than it has been for a decade, according to the latest survey from Irish Businesses Against Litter.
The first post-lockdown litter survey has highlighted a 30% increase in the PPE litter and a rise in alcohol-related litter, including cans and bottles.
Dublin’s North Inner City was designated a litter black spot for the first time since 2014 – with only two of the 25 sites surveyed found to be clen.
Some 17 sites were found to be ‘heavily littered’ or worse.
On Newstalk Breakfast this morning, IBAL spokesperson Conor Horgan said the survey paints a bleak picture for Irish cities.
“We are looking here at levels not seen in the last ten years,” he said.
“By way of example, our main city centres – Dublin, Cork and Limerick – are all deemed as littered towards the bottom of our table. We have not seen that in the last ten years.”
He said it is disappointing to see high levels of PPE-related litter.
“People are still obviously required to wear masks, they are still dropping them at an alarming rate and the are still not being picked up so all in all that makes for a pretty alarming picture as well,” he said.
“There is also COVID-related litter such as alcohol litter like cans and bottles to do with outdoor socialising. We have also seen a further increase in that form of litter so there is no doubt COVID is still having an effect.”
Portlaoise topped the survey’s cleanliness rankings for the first time with Limerick City South and Drogheda joining Dublin’s North Inner City as the three worst areas for litter in Ireland.
Galway, Tallaght and Ballymun were the only three urban areas to have registered significant year-on-year improvement.
Despite the poor showing in Ireland’s cities, many of the country’s towns have cleaned up their act since the last survey ten months ago.
Mr Horgan said 68% of the Ireland towns showed an improvement.
“With local authority cleaning schedules normalising again and volunteer groups re-engaged in clean-ups across the country, our towns are almost as clean as two years ago,” he said.
“This is still some way short of where they were in 2014, however.”
Leixlip and past winner Ennis joined Portlaoise towards the top of the rankings while notable improvements were recorded in Tipperary town, Carlow and Longford.
Mr Horgan said IBAL highlighted over 100 litter black spots last year and warned that “when we revisited them this year, fewer than half of them had been addressed”.
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