Greener, Cleaner Ireland

Ireland is becoming cleaner and greener, a new survey shows. There has been a "significant rise" in the numbers of areas deemed clean across the country, the final litter survey of 2022 by business group Irish Business Against Litter has found. However, the group says a "deposit-and-return" scheme for bottles and cans is needed to win the war against litter.

Cleanliness nationwide improved by 6%, with Naas, Co. Kildare, beating Kilkenny city and Maynooth, Co. Kildare, in the rankings. An Taisce, which carries out the surveys on behalf of IBAL, praised Naas for attaining "a level of cleanliness and presentation that should inspire local authorities across the country to better things".  Main Street was singled out as "exceptionally well-presented and maintained".

For the third year in succession, Waterford was the cleanest city, ahead of Galway. Urban areas improved by 12%, yet they continue to occupy the lower positions in the IBAL rankings. While Naas was again top of the rankings, city areas showed greatest improvement, notably Dublin city.

However, IBAL said the prevalence of plastic bottles and cans strengthens the case for the impending Deposit Return Scheme. The scheme charges shoppers a deposit on cans and bottles, refundable on return to a shop or recycling centre.

Naas was ranked cleanest as IBAL's survey shows a "marked fall in litter levels in 2022". It retains its crown at the top of the anti-litter league. Thirty of 40 cities and towns surveyed were clean compared to just more than half a year ago.

Mahon in Cork deteriorated to "seriously littered" at the bottom of the table, with An Taisce reporting dumping as a problem. "Many sites were let down not just because of casual litter but due to presence of dumped items such as dirty nappies," it said.

There was little improvement in "littered" Cork city, which suffered from a number of blackspots such as Kennedy Quay, Carmelite Place/Western Road and the North Ring Road, where "there was no let-up on the dumping along this road - as well as bags of rubbish, there were larger household items, e.g. chairs, white electrical appliances. It was in a very, very poor state".

By contrast, central Dublin rose to "moderately littered" as did Galvone in Limerick city, recording one of its best scores of recent years. Dublin's north inner city was littered but "much improved on 12 months ago".