City centre cleans up its act to record best-ever result in litter survey
Dublin city centre has returned its best-ever result in a litter survey that highlights the best - and grubbiest - areas of the country.
The business group Irish Business Against Litter (IBAL) has released its annual survey ranking the cleanest areas in the country.
In a summer in which the 1916 Centenary was celebrated, Dublin City Centre also returned its best-ever result, with Temple Bar, Grafton and O'Connell streets and Christ Church among the areas to receive top marks.
"Dublin City Council has done a fine job in presenting the capital at its best in what was an important summer for tourism," said IBAL's Conor Horgan.
"This job was complemented by the roads around Dublin Airport being exceptionally clean. At the same time, Ballymun and the north inner city were littered, so we're not near to solving the capital's litter problem yet."
Ballymun was let down by the prevalence of cigarette butts, broken glass and dumping in several sites surveyed.
The Dublin Airport area was the only Dublin area to rank "cleaner than European norms". The city centre and Stillorgan were listed as "clean to European norms", matching standards around the continent.
The north inner city and Ballymun were described as "littered", which is the second worst category on the IBAL scale.
The problem of litter is most acute in cities. Among the littered city areas were Farranree in Cork, which was again a litter blackspot, and Galvone in Limerick City, which was seriously littered.
Mahon in Cork was also littered, while Galway City and the area of Ballybane were deemed "moderately littered".
In contrast, more than 90pc of the 25 towns inspected were found to be clean, with almost half judged to be cleaner than European norms.
IBAL said its inclusion of more city areas in its rankings was recognition of the fact that litter was now largely found in neglected pockets of cities.
"These survey findings bear out our contention that while our city centres are generally well maintained, disadvantaged areas continue to be the source of much of the litter in our country," Mr Horgan said.
According to IBAL, litter is a symptom of social neglect, and councils need to look at a community-wide response.
While litter is subsiding, dumping is rising. The business group agrees with the introduction of the pay-by-weight waste collection system, but fears it may lead to more dumping.
"We would be especially concerned that the experience of this summer will set the public against the charges when they come in next year. This can only be harmful to our environment," Mr Horgan added.
Sweet papers are the most common form of litter, followed by fast-food wrappers, cigarette butts and chewing gum.