Irish company against waste
An assessment of the anti-litter league of 42 towns, cities and urban districts carried out by An Taisce for Ibal found a marked improvement in waste levels, with all but seven towns receiving a âcleanâ rating.
Of those that do not achieve cleanliness status, five – Tallaght, the Dublin Airport area, Mullingar, the town of Tipperary and Portlaoise – were found to be “moderately littered”.
Castlebar was ‘littered with trash’, but North Dublin city center was a ‘black spot of trash’.
Dublin city center received a cleanliness rating for the first time in 18 years of surveillance, but the area just northeast of the center turned out to be extremely dirty.
âThe worst performing sites were not only littered with rubbish, but subject to dumping and long-term neglect. Upper Buckingham Street and Marlborough Place [off OâConnell Street] were both in appalling condition, âAn Taisce inspectors said.
Dublin City Council is aware of the problem and is planning, with Garda support, to call homes in the neighborhood where it believes residents are leaving their garbage on the streets instead of paying for garbage collection.
As part of the initiative, which is due to start this month, households will be asked to prove that they are disposing of their waste in an authorized manner, either by bringing in a waste collection company or by bringing it to a regulated facility. Those who cannot will face legal action.
Ibal chairman Dr Tom Cavanagh said he was also particularly concerned about the roads around Dublin Airport.
âWhile the airport grounds themselves are immaculate, the roads leading from it are littered. Tourism Ireland invests heavily in selling Ireland as a green and unspoiled island and the country must live up to this image as soon as visitors set foot there. This is clearly not the case, âhe said.
While over 80 percent of cities rated An Taisce positively, the growing problem of empty buildings in city centers put these achievements at risk. Average commercial vacancy rates were just over 20 percent, but in some downtown areas, inspectors noted that up to a third of properties were empty.
âThe problem needs to be tackled on a more systematic level, with one person in each local authority assigned the responsibility of saving city centers, as has happened in Limerick, Wexford and elsewhere. . . It is not only the clean environment that is at stake, these premises are part of the lifeblood of the city, âsaid Dr Cavanagh.
In the few towns where waste was a problem, it was often public parks, access roads and recycling areas that lowered the bill. The Mayo County Council yard recycling facility in Castlebar has been described as “shocking”. Confectionery wrappers, cigarette butts, fast food wrappers and chewing gum were the most common forms of waste last year.
“Faced with the power of the gum lobby, our government is not acting for the common good, protecting the profits of the gum industry on the environment in which people live,” said Dr Cavanagh.
A spokesperson for the Environment Ministry said the gum industry had pledged â¬ 9.6 million in “responsible gum disposal” campaigns.
Ireland’s Cleanest City will be announced today.