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Monday, 29 August 2011

Dublin...Dirty Old Town!

Derelict properties add to Dublin's poor litter rating...

A POOR showing for Dublin city has spoiled the latest anti-litter league which shows the best State-wide results since 2002.

According to the survey, commissioned by Irish Business Against Litter, much of the capital is “as littered as it has been in many years”.

While the State generally achieved the highest level of cleanliness since monitoring by the business group began a decade ago, “derelict and vacant” properties contributed to the capital’s poor showing.

Parts of Cork also fared badly in the survey, with the Knocknaheeny area of the city being placed joint bottom of the league with Dublin’s north inner city.

The survey named individual stores across the State where it said there was excessive litter. These included Tesco in New Ross and Mallow, and McDonald’s, KFC and Pizza Hut in Sligo. Several public buildings were also heavily littered, including Galway’s Merlin Park Hospital.

Sweet wrappers were the most prevalent type of litter, followed by cigarette butts, fast food wrappings, plastic bottles and chewing gum.

The situation is so bad in some areas that Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan has said he will shortly bring in new regulations to give local authorities additional powers to tackle those who litter and dump illegally.

The Minister said he was pleased to note 37 towns and cities achieved the top-rated accolade “clean to European norms”, the highest level of cleanliness nationally in the league’s history.

In all 53 towns and cities were considered and two-thirds of them deemed to be clean to European norms. Among them were the cities of Waterford, Galway and, also for the first time, Cork. Killarney, Kilkenny and Wexford were also deemed clean to European norms. The cleanliness rating for the whole country was the highest since the surveys began.

Tom Cavanagh, chairman of Irish Business Against Litter, said towns were putting in “great effort to show their best sides to tourists to our country” but that tourists typically arrived in Dublin. Before they got to experience Ireland’s overall cleanliness they were first exposed to “widespread litter”, starting at the roads from Dublin airport.

According to An Taisce, which conducted the survey, there was an unprecedented number of seriously littered sites in the capital. It said “the majority of the sites in Dublin were not just littered but suffering from long-term abuse and neglect. Food-related litter was common on most of the approach roads to the city.”

While welcoming the national result, Mr Hogan took issue with the findings in relation to Dublin. He said he did “not accept that the areas chosen for the survey adequately reflect the overall situation on the ground”.

He said: “I regularly walk the streets of our capital and am impressed with how Dublin City Council continues to maintain the city centre. I am aware of the significant effort being put in by the four Dublin local authorities to combat litter in their functional areas, and I am confident that they will continue to strive to improve the situation.”

Mr Hogan said the Derelict Sites Act was being examined by Minister for State Willie Penrose to see how it might be used with ghost estates across the country, and Mr Hogan reminded local authorities it was an instrument they could use.

IBAL ANTI-LITTER LEAGUE RESULTS

CLEAN TO EUROPEAN NORMS: 1 Killarney; 2 Trim; 3 Cavan; 4 Swords; 5 Monaghan; 6 Youghal; 7 Wexford; 8 Ballincollig; 9 DĂșn Laoghaire; 10 Tramore; 11 Castlebar; 12 Waterford City; 13 Galway City; 14 Kilkenny; 15 Bray; 16 Ennis; 17 Ballina; 18 Cobh; 19 Naas; 20 Longford; 21 Dungarvan; 22 Nenagh; 23 Drogheda; 24 Fermoy; 25 Sligo; 26 Newcastle West; 27 Tuam; 28 Roscommon; 29 Navan; 30 Tullamore; 31 Arklow; 32 Kildare; 33 Dundalk; 34 Tralee; 35 Mullingar; 36 Gorey; 37 Cork City.

MODERATELY LITTERED: 38 Letterkenny; 39 Maynooth; 40 Athlone; 41 Carlow; 42 Tallaght; 43 Limerick City; 44 Portlaoise; 45 Mallow; 46 New Ross.

LITTERED: 47 Clonmel; 48 Wicklow; 49 Tipperary; 50 Dublin Airport environs; 51 Dublin City.

LITTER BLACKSPOTS: 52 Knocknaheeney, Cork; 53 north inner city Dublin.

Report by TIM O'BRIEN - Irish Times

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