Naas scooped 'cleaner than European Norms' while Maynooth is being ranked as 'moderately littered' in the Irish Business Against Litter results.
The summer survey of litter levels by Irish Business Against Litter sees Naas take seventh spot in the ranking of 40 towns and cities and deemed “Cleaner than European Norms”.
Maynooth, meanwhile, has lost its “Clean to European Norms’ status in 32nd spot and is deemed ‘moderately littered’.
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.
The An Taisce report for Naas stated: “A superb Top 10 performance from Naas, with a couple of sites which were recently improved on previous surveys e.g. Poplar Square and Harbour side from Naas. It wasn’t just that they were clear of litter but clearly care has been taken with the presentation e.g. painting of derelict buildings etc. Other top ranking sites in Naas included North Main Street and approach road form Ballymoreustace. It would seem that a careful eye is kept on the derelict at Fairgreen as there was no litter directly associated with this property.”
The report for Maynooth said: “Maynooth has slipped from its Clean to European Norms rating. Top ranking sites included NUI Maynooth, St. Mary’s School and the Harbour Park – not only did these areas score well with regard to litter but they were also freshly presented and maintained. By far the most heavily littered site surveyed was the Main Street. Many of the remainder of the sites were moderately littered – e.g. Maynooth Train Station, Aldi Car Park and the Recycle Facility at Aldi.”
While Dublin City Centre was clean, registering one of its best ever results, the North Inner City and Ballymun both deteriorated and were ‘heavily littered’. Cork City‘s Northside and Mahon also showed higher levels of litter, as did Ballybane in Galway city, which was bottom of the rankings.
Conor Horgan of IBALsaid:“We have seen a worsening of litter levels in economically disadvantaged areas, which dominate the lower placings of our rankings.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.
Mr Horgan said:“In most cases the litter we encounter doesn’t appear overnight, but has been present over a long period,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 ten times greater than the revenue collected through litter fines. While the cost of the service has risen over the past six years, the revenues collected have halved from €1.7m to €0.84m.
Mr Horgan said: “By any measure, this represents a pitiful return on taxpayers’ money and should be addressed. These resources could be put to better use elsewhere.”
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