THE Chairman of Irish Business Against Litter (IBAL) says Limerick city faces a “stiff challenge” after it was placed 38th out of 42 towns surveyed last year.
The city has been deemed ‘Moderately Littered’ in the 2012 litter survey, the results of which were published this morning.
The city was ranked 38th of the 42 towns surveyed - 80% of which were deemed ‘clean to European norms’.
“Limerick City, once more, is just below the European average. It will only take a little extra to get above the dividing line in 2013. It can be done. There were five bad sites in the twenty three inspected. Galway, similar in size, had none,” stated the report by An Taisce, which conducted the inspections for IBAL.
The full details of the An Taisce inspections will be published later this week.
Dr Tom Cavanagh, Chairman IBAL, said: “The cleanliness of our towns and cities has improved since measuring started in 2002, when only two in the country were better than ‘moderately littered’. Now all but seven are. Dublin, Cork and Limerick face a stiff challenge, but it can be done: much larger cities in Europe are clean and striving to be even cleaner, driven largely by economic objectives.”
Established in 1996, Irish Business Against Litter is an alliance of companies which share a belief that continued economic prosperity - notably in the areas of tourism, food and direct foreign investment - is contingent on a clean, litter-free environment.
“Research shows that in Europe clean towns tend to spend less on cleaning than dirty ones. Local authorities engage with the citizens and in time, being clean becomes part of the culture, but it is not easy, and behaviour changes slowly. But it is happening. It requires a 52-week effort from all staff and a widely communicated commitment from the top.” said Dr Cavanagh.
“Cost is on all our minds. The 1997 Litter Act included change designed to reduce the cost for Local Authorities. It is difficult to enforce the Act against individual littering, gum disposal and dog fouling, but property owners are less mobile. Offenders in the survey included supermarkets and their car parks, betting shops, pubs, take-aways, etc., as well as publicly owned property such as schools, hospitals and bus and train stations.”
One of the biggest concerns expressed by members of the business community in Limerick city centre during 2012 was the upsurge in illegal graffiti.
This problem has been targeted by Limerick City Council and by gardai and has not been such a major issue in recent weeks.
According to IBAL, absentee landlords and local property owners such as NAMA and Irish Rail are responsible for litter problems in some of the worst litter blackspots.
“As Ireland prepares for the Gathering this year, some of our train stations are still littered, with Cork’s Kent station bottom of the pile. Its car park was ‘in the worst state for years’ according to the An Taisce inspector. “If there is one area in a town or city that needs to be kept clean it is the train or bus station, said Dr Cavanagh.