EACH morning 45 cleaners rise before dawn to clean Limerick's streets, but despite their efforts Limerick is again the most littered of all cities.
The level of serious crime in the capital of the Mid-West may be down, but Limerick is still a dirty old town according to a new report published this Monday morning.
Limerick city is ranked at No 49 on the list – just five places from the bottom - and is followed by Midleton and Naas, both regarded as seriously littered, and Portlaoise and Tallaght, which are ranked as litter blackspots.
Last year Limerick was described as a "litter black spot", but the results of the 2010 survey commissioned by Irish Business Against Litter (IBAL) show that Limerick has 'improved' this year to "littered" status.
That charge was vehemently denied by local councillors and City Council officials, who claimed there were "serious question marks" about the transparency of the last report.
The heritage body, An Taisce, who conduct the surveys said: "The really poor sites in Limerick city were not just heavily littered but many of them were neglected or derelict."
Mayor of Limerick, Cllr Maria Byrne, said new efforts are being made by the City Council and traders to "smarten up" certain areas of the city, as well as increasing the number of clean-ups in the community.
"Hopefully by next year we will have moved up the list," said the mayor.
Business owners are now being urged by the IBAL to clean up outside their premises twice daily.
In previous years, Limerick's place on the list had risen as high as 22nd, such as in 2008 when it was classed as being "clean to European norms".