Galway loses ‘clean’ status in latest IBAL litter survey

The latest survey by business group Irish Business Against Litter shows Galway city has lost the ‘Clean’ status it gained earlier in 2017 and is ‘moderately littered’ in 30th position in the ranking of 40 towns and cities. Ballybane also fell, from 24th to 38th, and is deemed ‘littered’.

The authors of the report expressed their disappointment at the demotion of Galway city saying that as an important tourist destination, it has a responsibility to be less littered.

“It is disappointing to see this important tourist destination again slip to moderately littered having improved earlier in the year – it is lagging behind most other cities.

“The Courthouse and Town Hall Theatre area were both much improved but still somewhat littered. The Millennium Children’s Playground was completely destroyed by graffiti on every available surface, including a piece of sculpture.

“Two other heavily-littered sites were both waterside environments — the Riverwalk and Rowing Club/The ‘Bish’ and Canal Walk. Some of the particularly good sites in Galway City included Galway University Hospital (and car park ), NUI Galway. (exceptionally well presented and maintained ). The new O’Donoghue Centre for Theatre and the pedestrian bridge was very nicely presented and maintained and clean and tidy.

“With two litter blackspots, this is a very disappointing result for Ballybane after a great showing earlier in 2017.

“Most of the moderately littered sites in Ballybane could easily get the top litter grade with a little extra care and attention e.g. East United Football Club, Ballybane Road, GMIT and Ballybane Shopping Centre.

“The residential area of Fana Glas was a litter blackspot - not just littered but with horse fouling, old clothing, plastic wrapping, and carpets. The other blackspot was around St Brigid’s Church – the area immediately around the church was excellent but an adjacent area had been subject to dumping,” the report stated.

An Taisce surveyed 25 towns and 15 city areas on behalf of IBAL. Of these, none was judged to be a litter blackspot, and only one, Galvone in Limerick, was designated as “seriously littered”. 88 per cent of towns were deemed clean, a slight improvement on the previous year, with 40 per cent adjudged to be cleaner than the European average. In contrast, city areas occupied six of the bottom seven places in the rankings.

Waterford was again the country’s cleanest city, while Tallaght, previously a litter blackspot, climbed to fifth in the rankings and was deemed “Cleaner than European Norms”. Castlebar and Portlaoise progressed strongly in the rankings, but Navan and Carlow both fell to “moderately littered”.

According to IBAL, progress in cities has been much slower than in towns, and much less consistent. “In this latest survey, for example, we have seen reversals in recent improvements in Dublin City Centre and Ballymun, as well as in Galway City’s Ballybane and Mahon in Cork, in a way that we have not witnessed in towns,“ explains IBAL’s Conor Horgan. “This points to a lack of community involvement which is essential to keeping an area free of litter over time.”

Once again, the roads leading in from Dublin Airport were exceptionally clean, but in general the survey found an increase in litter levels along roads connecting towns, with the majority “moderately littered”, among them the Galway-Ennis road.

According to the survey, 2017 saw falls in the prevalence of fast food wrappers, plastic bottles and dog fouling. However, chewing gum, cigarette butts and cans continue to be major sources of litter.

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