Nearly all of Ireland’s third level colleges are now litter-free and a model for other public places to follow, according to a litter survey by Irish Business Against Litter (IBAL). Launching its 2012 litter league, IBAL says those in charge of keeping clean public amenities like hospitals, train stations and shopping centres should look to the performance of third level campuses. 17 of 21 colleges surveyed were deemed litter-free, with only DIT Kevin Street branded as heavily littered.
”This result is another big leap in the fight against litter, as previous surveys showed several campuses to be neglected and rundown,” says IBAL chairman Dr Tom Cavanagh. “The achievement is all the greater given that the populations of these colleges are bigger than most towns, and they are young populations, which are more likely to litter. It augers well for the future that our budding leaders are operating in a well-presented environment, which they will hopefully replicate as opinion formers and trendsetters in their later professional lives.”
The study of 3rd level institutions, carried out by An Taisce and accounting for up to 300,000 students and staff, revealed that only 3 colleges assessed fell short of a litter free ranking. These were Carlow College and Limerick College of Further Education, both littered, and ‘heavily littered’ DIT Kevin Street.
As part of the 2012 Anti-Litter League, 42 towns and cities will be assessed for litter over the course of the year. Last year over 70% of participating areas were judged to be Clean to European Norms, with Trim the cleanest town in the country. Dublin City, however, remained ‘littered’, and the North Inner City was deemed a litter blackspot.
Dog fouling and gum will be major points of emphasis for IBAL in the 2012 programme. “Dog fouling in particular has become a high profile issue in the past year,“ explains Dr Cavanagh. “We’re receiving lots of feedback from members of the public abhorred by dog fouling on pavements. We know some authorities are giving out free scoopers and even dog nappies are being considered by others. Alongside gum, people are understandably intolerant of this insidious and unhygienic form of litter.”
Following on the success of the colleges survey, IBAL will be assessing train and bus stations and schools as part of the 2012 league.
A new development to the IBAL programme will be a Business Achievement Award. This will acknowledge the contribution of a chamber of commerce, traders’ association or shop owner to a litter-free environment, be it in adopting a particular road, voluntarily cleaning a main street, etc.
“As a business organisation, we are quick to recognise that businesses have a key role to play in keeping the community clean, not least at a time when public resources are squeezed,” says Dr Cavanagh. “Last year for example, supermarket retailer Lidl, previously the target of criticism for the litter levels at some of their outlets’ car parks, responded by appointing an official with a specific brief to improve the presentation of their sites. We need to see more of this.”