Athlone has been declared ‘clean to European norms’ in the latest Irish Business Against Litter (IBAL ) Litter League, announced on Monday.
Athlone came in 35th place of the 53 towns surveyed under the report, with its ranking consistently improving over the past five years. Last year the town was described as ‘moderately littered’, while this year, seven out of the 10 sites surveyed in Athlone achieved the top litter grade.
The adjudicators particularly commented on the improvement in the approach roads to the town, such as the N62 Dublin Road at Kilmartins roundabout and the Roscommon approach road. However the Old Dublin Road was found to be verging on becoming a serious litter problem.
“There was a definite litter presence, much of it food related, and the overall appearance of the road was somewhat unkempt,” according to the report.
There was praise for Athlone Business and Technology Park, a “particularly well maintained site” which was clear of litter, with bins, benches, dog fouling notices, shrubbery, and paths all in very good condition.
Athlone Institute of Technology also earned ‘litter-free’ status.
The worst ranking site in Athlone was the car park beside Paws Pet Centre, Supermac’s and Boyle Sports at Golden Island. “There was no improvement here since last surveyed - it has been completely abused and neglected by those responsible for the maintenance,” according to the report.
Sean Costello Street earned the top ranking, being described as “clear of all litter”, well served by litter bins, with individual properties well presented.
Mayor Alan Shaw welcomed the latest report, saying it reflects the ongoing improvement of litter management by the town council and the Tidy Towns Committee.
“We were identified by IBAL in its June 2009 report as a ‘litter blackspot’ coming 60th in that particular report out of 60 towns surveyed. Five reports later we are now “clean to European norm”. Since that time, Athlone Town Council has increased its investment in litter management and Tidy Towns activities,” he said.
“The Tidy Towns Committee has continued to work throughout 2011 to enhance our town and highlight the need for the public to take greater individual responsibility in controlling litter.”