Galway’s ‘poor’ showing sees city drop thirteen places in national litter league

Galway’s ranking in the national litter league tables, published by IBAL this week, has been branded “poor” with the city coming in 34th among the 40 urban areas surveyed. The city has plummeted from 21st place in the previous IBAL survey and only just managed to hold on to its grade of being clean to European norms.

Just eight areas of the city were given an ‘A’ grade in the last IBAL survey of 2014, compared to 17 in the previous survey. Meanwhile two areas received a ‘D’ grade, the lowest grade given to any area in the city; by contrast, no part of the city was given a ‘D’ in the previous survey, published in August, and just two areas received a ‘C’ grade, with three areas garnering a ‘C’ in this week’s published results.

The report, compiled by An Taisce on behalf of Irish Business Against Litter, stated: “While the city just retains its clean status, this was a poor result for Galway, with just a third of the sites surveyed getting the top litter grade – a significant drop from the previous survey.  

“While there were some very poor sites [eg, residential area of Leas na Coille and Clos na Coille, Abbeygate Street Lower, Raven Terrace canal walk, and Castlepark Road/Ballybane Shopping Centre area], there were a high number of moderately littered sites which could easily get the top litter grade with some extra care and effort, eg, GMIT, Spanish Arch and environs, Oldenway Business Park, and recycle facility at Beechwood/Monivea Shopping Centre.”

Raven Terrace, which received a ‘D’ grade, was, according to the inspector, “a lovely canal walk” which had been “ruined by lack of respect, particularly by alcohol related litter”. The report found litter both on the ground and in the canal, with “graffiti on every paintable/sprayable surface”.

Leas na Coille and Clos na Coille in Ballybane also received a ‘D’ in the survey. The surveyor noted that it was “quite unusual in [an] IBAL anti-litter survey to see residential areas getting such a poor litter grade.  The open communal areas were well tended and paths in good condition. However, there were heavy levels of dog fouling with several dogs running around at time of litter survey. Some rubbish bags had been dissected by dogs with all the contents strewn about. There was also other litter around and about.”

The site of the Corrib Great Southern Hotel, Castlepark Road in Ballybane, and Lower Abbeygate Street each received a ‘C’ in the survey, with the site of the hotel suffering as a result of casual litter, graffiti, and a bag of rubbish.

Castlepark Road was found to be strewn with food-related litter. Lower Abbeygate Street, in contrast to Shop Street — which received an ‘A’ in the survey, was found to have “a very definite litter presence throughout”.

Among the other areas of the city to receive an ‘A’ grade was Coillte Mhuirlinne, which was described by an An Taisce inspector as “a pristine residential area – all aspects of the area surveyed were in excellent condition and there was a complete absence of litter throughout”.

St Brigid’s Parish Church in Ballybane also received top marks in the survey. “This was an excellent site,” the inspector noted. “Not only was it spotless but the grounds were exceptionally well presented and maintained. The unusual design of this modern church is simple but calming.”

The shopping centre located between Beechwood Park and Monivea Park also received a Grade A with no major litter issues.

Bohermore Cemetery, which received an ‘A’, was described as “a very well presented and cared for environment – there was a virtual absence of litter throughout. Some minor works taking place with associated road cones – this didn’t impact in any negative way on the litter situation.”

Henry Street playground also received top marks and was litter-free, though the inspect did note that there was graffiti on some of the equipment and murals.

The Dunnes Stores arcade at Edward Square was found to be “an excellent site”, with plenty of bins and a “complete absence of litter” earning it an ‘A’ in the survey.

The final area to receive a top grade was Ceannt Station, which the surveyor noted has improved considerably in terms of presentation and maintenance of the site.

A total of 11 sites around the city received a B grade, including the approach to the Martin Roundabout from Merlin Park, the grounds of GMIT, Oldenway Business Park in Ballybrit, the East United grounds and clubhouse in Ballybane, the recycling facility at Monivea Shopping centre, Spanish Arch and environs, the car park in Mill Street, Eyre Square, and the Dyke Road recycling facility.

The Galway-Ennis link road also received a B grade and, similar to other approach roads around the country, was found to be littered in parts.

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