An Taisce which carried out surveys on behalf of the business group Irish Business Against Litter (IBAL ) has commended Galway city for making a good impression and achieving the “good result” of 15th place and deemed ‘Cleaner than European Norms’.
The 2012 litter survey was released this week by IBAL showing that Galway city was among 22 towns out of 42 to receive the ‘Cleaner than European Norms’ designation, with a further 13 classed as ‘Clean to European Norms’. On Tuesday, it was Kilkenny that beat off stiff competition to be announced as the overall winner at an awards ceremony in the Conrad Hotel in Dublin.
In its report on Galway city An Taisce stated: “A really good result for Galway city. Most of the approach roads and associated link roads into Galway city were in very good order, creating a very positive first impression of the city – this high standard was sustained for well over the majority of the sites surveyed. Other very good sites included Galway Train Station, The Prom, Salthill Park and Knocknacarra Retail Park, to name but a few. Most of the residential areas were in very good order too. By far the most heavily littered site surveyed in Galway was Galwegians RFC.”
Commenting on the result, IBAL chairman, Dr Tom Cavanagh, said: “This is a wonderful result. Ten years ago, when measuring started, no town/city in Ireland was deemed to have reached this standard. Now there are 22. Here’s hoping you will maintain this standard in 2013, the year of The Gathering.”
Various locations around Galway city were surveyed and scored different grades. Those that received grade A include the Oranmore Coast Road to Martin Roundabout which was found to have road surface, signage, and markings all in “very good order” and there was a notable absence of litter. Rahoon Road was found to have a “very clean and fresh looking approach road – all in good order”. Bodkin Roundabout to Browne Roundabout was described as “an excellent site – the paths / roads / and all aspects of the road were in very good condition – clear of litter and well maintained”. The N15 to Kirwan Roundabout was found to be another “excellent approach road into Galway city” and “in very good order and clear of litter”. The judges found that the low lying shrubbery of the N17 approach road was a “lovely feature” and was “well presented and maintained”. The residential area of Durabhan, near Martin Roundabout, was described as being “superbly presented and maintained” and “not only was it clear of all litter it was in pristine condition”.
Making a significant improvement was Merlin Park Hospital with “no litter reported” on the grounds. The train tracks at Galway Railway Station were found to be “clear of litter” and “the station platform was gleaming”. The judges also found that “there was a complete absence of litter at the train station and the area is exceptionally well served by litter bins”. Among other high achievers was the Prom which was found to be a “wonderful amenity which was heavily used at the time of the litter survey,” despite this “it was still a spotless site” and a “credit to the users and those responsible for the maintenance”. Salthill Park was also found to be “well maintained with seating, band stand, steps, signage, and bins all in very good order”. Judges noted that the park has the “benefit of being a wonderful green space that overlooks the sea - what a fantastic aspect”. Knocknacarra Retail Park received a grade A for its “exceptionally well presented and maintained retail environment - paving, planting, bicycle parking, street lamps, and bins were all in meticulous condition and there was a complete absence of litter throughout”. The residential area of An Lógan was noted for its extensive green space which was in “very good condition and the colourful planting was well maintained”. The judges were also impressed with the individual areas in front of the houses which were clear of litter. The judges commended Scoil Einde National School declaring it a “top ranking site throughout” and stating that “clearly this school is very well respected by the users and cared for by those responsible for the maintenance”.
Judges awarded a grade B to a number of other locations including the N59 Clifden approach road (Grade B ) after most of the road was found to be “clear of litter but it was let down by some casually discarded food related litter”. However, the judges noted that “not much effort is required to make this a top ranking site”. Food related litter was found at Galway Bus Station including coffee cups and sweet papers, but judges added “it is a small enough area so it shouldn’t be too difficult to get a handle on it”. A lack of litter bins around Salthill and Knocknacarra GAA grounds was a let down, for judges found a “definite” food related litter presence. Some parts of the park on the Siobhan McKenna Road were found to be in good order but not all. The playground was described as perfect and the extensive playing fields were “generally well maintained”, however the recycle facility within the park was “in a poor state” with judges warning that it needs to be “better managed or else it will deteriorate even further”. Judges found GMIT to be almost in “immaculate condition” as it was not just clear of litter but exceptionally well presented and maintained, however, it was the bus stop entrance which brought down the overall grade as a “variety of food related litter was present”. Addressing this issue would make GMIT a top ranking site.
The worst site surveyed in Galway city was Galwegians RFC which scored a grade C. Judges found that the site was not just heavily littered but was “suffering from neglect with a broken pillar on the ground and other debris”.