Galway is second cleanest city in the country, says IBAL report

Galway is the second cleanest city in the country after Waterford, while Ballybane has seen a marked improvement compared to previous surveys, according to the latest Irish Business Against Litter report, published this week.

The IBAL survey also found that Ballinasloe fared best of the three Galway sites inspected. The final litter survey of 2022 found both Ballinasloe and Galway city centre again deemed clean to European norms, in 13th and 19th place respectively in the ranking of 40 towns and cities nationwide.

Ballybane, previously labelled ‘seriously littered’ at the foot of the table, has improved to ‘littered’, in 35th spot.

An Taisce, which conducts the surveys on behalf of IBAL, this week congratulated Ballinasloe on “an excellent result”, with six of the 10 sites surveyed in the town achieving the top litter grade. None of the sites were found to be seriously littered. Top ranking sites in the town included the Famine Remembrance Park, Kilgarve Gardens, and the three approach roads.

Meanwhile, more than half of the sites surveyed in Galway city received the top litter grade, with just three seriously littered sites out of a total of 25 inspected. An Taisce inspectors were particularly impressed with the area around Galway Courthouse, Gateway Shopping Park, Shantalla Community Centre, Ballinfoyle Mews, and Cluain Fada.

“Many sites just missed the top litter grade, little effort is required for the achievement of same, eg, Eyre Square, Shop Street, Town Hall Theatre, and Market Street Car Park,” An Taisce said in a statement. “By far the most heavily littered sites surveyed were Westside Amenity Park, Trinity National School [Mervue], and University Hospital Galway grounds – it was surprising to see the latter site so heavily littered as it has typically been a much cleaner site in previous IBAL surveys.”

Inspectors found six top ranking sites in Ballybane, including Castlepark which found to have significantly improved compared to previous surveys. However the suburb was also found to have two litter blackspots – Ballybane Industrial Estate and Ballybane Village – both of which have also scored poorly in previous surveys.

Nationally, cleanliness levels improved by six per cent in 2022, with Naas securing top spot in the rankings. Urban areas improved by 12 per cent, yet they continue to occupy the lower positions in the litter league.

“The results reflect a pattern of improvement since the peak of the Covid pandemic, when litter levels soared, especially in cities,” said IBAL’s Conor Horgan. “In particular we are seeing local authorities concentrate their efforts on ridding areas of heavily littered sites. We have no reason to believe this improvement will not be sustained. Cleanliness is a virtuous circle: clean streets beget clean streets, inspiring a pride and consciousness of the environment among people.”

According to IBAL the results of the survey show a strong need for Government recycling schemes, with plastic bottles and cans constituting a major source of litter in a third of the 500-plus sites surveyed. A deposit return scheme, which will see consumers pay a deposit which they can reclaim on returning their containers to a retailer or other collection point, is due to be introduced this year.


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