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26 Jun 2022

'A careful eye,' new survey shows litter levels falling in Tipperary Town

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Tipperary Town

The latest survey by Irish Business Against Litter shows litter levels falling in Tipperary Town, which has improved to Clean status, in 20th spot in the ranking of 40 towns and cities.

The study reveals PPE litter is on the decrease, but the prevalence of coffee cups on our streets warrants action such as a levy, says IBAL. 2022 marks the 20th year of the IBAL litter surveys.

The An Taisce report for Tipperary town stated: "A very strong performance by Tipperary Town with seven out of the ten sites surveyed getting the top litter grade. 

"Clearly a careful eye is kept on the various vacant/run down properties along The Main Street as there was no litter directly associated with them. 

"Other top ranking sites included the three approach roads, Pearse Park and Car Park at Market Square – the latter was a particularly attractive environment with lovely paving, bicycle parking, ‘olde’ style street lamps, visitor information etc. 

"There was a slight improvement at the vacant Site at Bank Place but not enough to shift it from seriously littered status. 

Two-thirds of the 40 towns and cities surveyed were found to be clean, among them Naas, which retained its position atop the rankings, ahead of Letterkenny and Cavan.

Overall litter levels showed a decrease on last year, with a dramatic fall of 50% in the number of sites within towns deemed to be ‘litter blackspots’.

“We’ve been calling on local authorities to prioritise the very bad sites in a town or area and it seems this call has been heeded,” comments IBAL spokesperson Conor Horgan.

“We see the benefits especially in urban areas, where very heavy littering and dumping was at its worst. It’s early days, but there are signs that the disadvantaged areas we have focussed on are finally coming good, albeit from a low base.”

The prevalence of PPE masks fell sharply compared to the previous survey, present in 17% of sites examined, compared to 32% in 2021. There was also a fall-off in alcohol-related litter, which contributed to an improvement in the state of public parks, 80% of which were clean. Recycle centres were also cleaner. However, coffee cup litter remained high, evident in one quarter of all sites surveyed. 

“The findings bear out the need for action on coffee cups,” contends Mr Horgan. “We must disincentivise the use of paper cups – even compostable or recyclable ones – as too many of them are ending up on the ground. In the light of our survey, the Government move towards a levy makes a lot of sense.”

The survey suggests that Ireland is seeing a return to normality post-Covid. “With cleaning schedules back to normal, less PPE litter and less alcohol consumption outdoors, litter levels have fallen. However, despite improvements, the centres of our main cities are still littered at a time when we are welcoming our peak tourist numbers. There is a price to be paid for that,” comments Mr Horgan.

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