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Dublin: 16°C Tuesday 16 August 2022

Killarney hailed as Ireland's cleanest town but Dublin is a "dirty black spot"

Cigarette butts, fast food wrappings and chewing gum are again the biggest sources of litter around Ireland.

Killiney Heights in Knocknaheeny in Cork City, a litter black spot in the latest litter survey by IBAL
Killiney Heights in Knocknaheeny in Cork City, a litter black spot in the latest litter survey by IBAL
Image: IBAL

KILLARNEY IS THE cleanest town in Ireland but Dublin is a “blot” on an overall “clean report,” the Irish Business Against Litter organisation said on publishing its latest survey.

The report found that the capital is as “littered as it has been in many years”  with many areas becoming black spots for “rubbish”.

The worst areas are those around Dublin Airport, the North Inner City and the City Centre.

Derelict and vacant properties in Dublin are contributing to the litter problem and “unsightliness,” say the group.

An Taisce, which conducted the survey explained, “The majority of the sites in Dublin were not just littered but suffering from long-term abuse and neglect.”

Although Cork passed the overall test for the first time, some areas of the city were also admonished for their litter problems.

In hailing Killarney the cleanest town, examiners from An Taisce said that the tourist town – along with other places such as Wexford and Kilkenny – is putting in a great effort to show its best side.

According to the survey, about two-thirds of towns and cities in Ireland are “clean to European norms”. More than 20 have been deemed to be even cleaner than their European counterparts.

However, the group warn that this good work could be ruined by the “dirty” capital.

“Unfortunately, foreign visitors to these towns typically arrive first in Dublin, and there they are being exposed to widespread litter, starting at the roads from the airport itself,” said Dr Tom Cavanagh, chairman of IBAL. “This is a national issue, not a local one. Ireland cannot be deemed a clean destination for tourists, if Dublin itself is not clean, and that doesn’t just mean the city centre.”

He added, “Local authorities need to look beyond just Grafton Street, to Dublin as a whole.”

The group advised that more attention should be given to where people actually live and not just to high profile streets. In particular, IBAL concentrated on the “disadvantaged areas of Knocknaheeny in Cork and North Inner City Dublin”.

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Both areas occupied the two bottom places in the litter rankings.

Litter violations

Sweet wrappers, cigarette butts and fast food wrappings are the most common sources of litter, the survey found.

They are closely followed by  plastic bottles and the usual offender chewing gum.

Supermarkets and fast food restaurants were the sites worst affected by litter. IBAL named-and-shamed Tesco stores in New Ross and Mallow, as well as McDonald’s, KFC and Pizza Hut in Sligo.

Galway’s Merlin Park Hospital and Waterford bus station exterior were also classed as litter black spots.

The Top 10 Clean Cities/Towns:
  1. Killarney, Kerry
  2. Trim, Meath
  3. Cavan
  4. Swords, Dublin
  5. Monaghan
  6. Youghal
  7. Wexford
  8. Ballincollig
  9. Dun Laoghaire
  10. Tramore

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