Carlow is the cleanest town in Ireland, pipping Trim to head the 2010 survey of litter levels in 53 towns and cities by Irish Business Against Litter (IBAL). Both were among 39 towns to be classed as ‘litter-free’ in what was the most successful result since the programme started 9 years ago. The winning town was presented with a special plaque by Dr Tom Cavanagh, chairman of IBAL, who criticised the Government for failing to tackle the issue of litter in cities, which shows little sign of reducing.
This is the third time that Carlow has won the IBAL Litter League, the last being in 2005. An Taisce, who conduct the litter surveys, commented in its report on Carlow: “A superb result overall – all sites surveyed in Carlow were Grade A. There were Litter Awareness and/or Dog Fouling notices at all of the sites surveyed – perhaps the constant reminder of same is having the desired effect. Clearly a very effective and efficient cleaning and maintenance process is in place, combined with respect by the users of the facilities/environment. Well down to all who work so diligently to present Carlow at its best and to the citizens who co-operate so enthusiastically.”
To mark its success, Carlow will receive a number of trees for planting locally. These are provided by the Irish Tree Centre, an IBAL member based in County Cork.
Of the 53 towns surveyed by IBAL, 39, or 74%, were judged litter-free, a record percentage since the League began in 2002, when only two towns were litter-free. No town was classed as a litter blackspot, with Portlaoise the only town to receive a ‘seriously littered’ grading. Our two biggest cities fared poorly, with Cork falling to second from bottom, and Dublin in a lowly 50th position.
According to Dr Tom Cavanagh, IBAL has proposed a number of measures to Government to tackle litter in the main urban centres, but that these have “fallen on deaf ears.” He adds: “We had hoped for some meaningful measures from Minister Gormley in 2010, but none has been delivered.”
IBAL is seeking cleaning schedules for national routes, as occurs in Northern Ireland. It is also proposing that within the Eur45 million which the National Roads Authority allocates to local authorities, a defined amount is set aside specifically for cleaning up litter.
“In addition, a report on dumping was promised, but has failed to materialise as yet,” says Dr Cavanagh. “None of these issues has been acted upon, so it is no wonder that the entry points to Dublin and Cork in particular are still blighted by litter.” IBAL has also been calling for a tax on conventional chewing gum, with a view to developing a market for degradable gum.