The latest Irish Business Against Litter (IBAL) rankings are out with Carlow and Kilkenny both declared to be ‘Clean to European Norms’.
For the first time, no Irish town has been branded ‘seriously littered’.
The final research for 2023 shows Kilkenny retained its top five position in the ranking of 40 towns and cities nationwide, with Carlow town deemed ‘clean’ in 20th.
The An Taisce report for Kilkenny stated;
“As always, a very strong performance by Kilkenny with eight out of the ten sites surveyed getting the top litter grade and no heavily littered sites. Top-ranking sites included Bottle Bank at St Canice’s Car Park, St. Kieran’s Street, The Mall, High Street and Kilkenny Castle Park – these sites weren’t just good with regard to litter, but the overall presentation and maintenance of same was excellent. A fairy recent addition to Kilkenny is the lovely Riverside Garden and Skatepark site – it has been very attractively laid out but not nearly as clean as neighbouring sites.”
While for Carlow;
“A much-improved result for Carlow town, especially compared to a number of years ago. Top-ranking sites included the approach roads, Recycle Facility at Askea Church Car Park, Potato Market and Penney’s Shopping Centre – the latter was particularly freshly presented and maintained. By far the two most heavily littered sites were Mr Price and Home Savers – both had very obvious and seemingly ‘long-lie’ litter, indicating a lack of thorough cleaning for quite some time.”
While litter levels rose slightly nationwide, over 60% of towns surveyed were deemed clean in 2023, with Maynooth edging out Mallow and much improved Sligo to take the title of cleanest town.
Waterford was again our cleanest city, ahead of Galway. These were the only cities to be judged ‘clean’, with Cork City Centre improving to ‘moderately littered’ but Dublin falling to ‘littered’, alongside Limerick.
“There is some good news in our cities, however,” says Conor Horgan. “For years our worst performing areas were deemed either ‘litter blackspots’ or ‘seriously littered’. This baseline would seem to be changing, with ‘littered’ becoming the bottom tier. Cleanliness begets cleanliness, and there is reason to hope the improvement will continue in future years.”
‘We need action on coffee cups”
A surprise finding of the IBAL study was the rise in coffee cup litter, which is now close to peak-Covid levels. Coffee cups were found at over 30% of the 500+ sites surveyed. “We are concerned at potential delays in introducing a coffee cup levy,” says Conor Horgan. “We believe this action is needed to stamp out a product which is out of step with the circular economy. Irrespective of how recyclable or compostable take-away cups are, these statistics show too many of them are ending up on our streets.” IBAL says Killarney has benefited from having banned single-use cups last year, a move embraced by the community.
IBAL welcomes the introduction next month of the Deposit Return Scheme as a potential game-changer in the fight against litter, much as the plastic bag levy was. The scheme will see consumers pay a deposit of 15 cent on cans and up to 25 cent on plastic bottles, refundable on their return. “This latest survey shows these items to be present in just under half of the hundreds of sites we surveyed. This scheme will remove a large portion of this litter and bring about a significantly cleaner environment in 2024. While there may be some inconvenience for consumers, the prize is a very real, and a very immediate one.”
There was another significant rise in the prevalence of disposable vapes, highlighted previously as an emerging source of litter. These were found in more than 10% of all sites covered.
2023 marked the 21st anniversary of the IBAL Anti-Litter League.
Stay tuned to The KCLR Daily for more between 10am and 1pm.