River at University of Limerick and Foynes set for Ibal ‘anti litter league’

Nick Rabbitts

Reporter:

Nick Rabbitts

Foynes will be included in next month’s anti-litter league for the first time

Foynes will be included in next month’s anti-litter league for the first time

THE River Shannon at the University of Limerick and Foynes will be included in next month’s anti-litter league for the first time.

Irish Business Against Litter (Ibal) has announced that more than 60 sites will be surveyed in its twice-yearly survey, due out at the end of August – up from 40 at the moment.

Currently, Limerick city centre sits in 24th place in the 40-place league, regaining its Clean to European Norms status it had previously lost.

Thomondgate dropped to 19th place, while Galvone remained rooted to the foot of the league, being ranked ‘seriously littered’.

Conor Horgan, of Ibal, said: “Our coastal areas and waterways are of course a vital part of our tourism product, and for this reason alone warrant inclusion in our survey. But by allowing us to draw attention to the broader critical issue of marine litter, their significance is much greater.”

The extension of the Ibal programme is supported by the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government.

The Minister of State here Damien English said: “The IBAL Litter League has proven a powerful instrument in focussing attention among local authorities, volunteer groups and others on litter in towns and cities. It is my hope that  it will raise similar awareness  of how litter on land directly contributes to the urgent marine litter problem we face today.”

Mr Horgan added: “Litter is transitioning from a primarily visual concern to a health and environmental one, with marine litter seen as signalling the inevitable death of our seas unless a rapid change can be effected. A stark illustration of this threat is the plastic ‘garbage patch’ three times the size of France floating in the Pacific Ocean. It is estimated that by 2050 there will be more plastic in our oceans than fish.

Since its launch in 2002, Ibal says its league has helped bring about  a massive reduction in litter levels here. Limerick has been both top and bottom of the league in this period of time.

Established in 1996, Ibal is an alliance of companies sharing 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.