Roscommon reclaims ‘clean’ status in final IBAL litter survey of 2022

Roscommon reclaimed its ‘clean to European norms’ status in the final Irish Business Against Litter survey of 2022, finishing in 26th place in the ranking of 40 towns and cities nationwide.

Naas in Co. Kildare once again topped the overall rankings while Longford disappointingly fell from 5th place to 27th this time around. Cleanliness levels nationwide improved by 6 per cent in 2022, with Kilkenny and Maynooth making up the top three.

For the third year in succession, Waterford was the cleanest city, ahead of Galway. Urban areas improved by 12 per cent, yet they continue to occupy the lower positions in the IBAL rankings.

The An Taisce report for Roscommon read: “A great improvement for Roscommon, with seven out of the ten sites surveyed getting the top litter grade. With so many top-ranking sites, a few deserve a special mention: Main Street was very freshly presented and maintained, excellent with regard to litter.

“The Square is a lovely town centre environment which was not just spotless but attractively presented with lovely paving, planting etc. There was a notable improvement at the Bring Bank on Golf Links Road – this time around it just missed the top litter grade.

“Similarly, the laneway beside Roscommon Fire Station was worthy of the top litter grade.  The laneway off Main Street was much improved but still somewhat littered. By far the most heavily littered site was the laneway in between the laneway beside the Fire Station and parking and Circle K Plaza – it wasn’t just littered but subject to dumping. This area has been highlighted on many previous IBAL surveys”.

Local councillor and Tidy Towns Chairperson Kathleen Shanagher welcomed the news this week.

“I’m glad that we have reclaimed our status as ‘Clean to European Norms’ and it’s obvious that a lot of work has gone in to keeping Roscommon town clean in recent months,” she said.

“The latest survey is testament to the hard work of local businesses, Roscommon County Council outdoor staff, the Tidy Towns, TÚS workers and other volunteers in the area”.

Cllr Shanagher did however highlight that judging in the IBAL Litter League takes place throughout the year and called on local business owners and residents to be mindful of this.

“It’s important to remember that IBAL judges can visit Roscommon at any time so it’s vital that we continue to be vigilant and work to keep problem areas free of litter,” she said.

IBAL’s Conor Horgan said the results reflected a pattern of improvement since the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic.

  “In particular we are seeing local authorities concentrate their efforts on ridding areas of heavily littered sites. We have no reason to believe this improvement will not be sustained. Cleanliness is a virtuous circle: clean streets beget clean streets, inspiring a pride and consciousness of the environment among people”.

Plastic bottles and cans continue to be a major source of litter, second only to sweet wrappers. IBAL believes the findings bolster the case for a deposit return scheme, which is due to be introduced this year, and which will see consumers pay a deposit which they can reclaim on returning their containers to a retailer or other collection point.

“Based on this data the scheme is sorely needed and stands to rid our streets of a significant amount of litter. The same applies to the proposed coffee cup levy,” commented Conor Horgan.

“While there was a fall in the prevalence of coffee cups, they were still found in 25 per cent of sites surveyed.

“We welcome the announcement that cigarette manufacturers will now be contributing to the cost of clean-up, but we really need to see preventative measures such as widespread butt disposal facilities alongside innovative packaging which can store butts,” added Conor Horgan.

The Mayor of Naas Municipal District, Cllr Evie Sammon, was presented with the inaugural Dr Tom Cavanagh Memorial Trophy, in honour of IBAL’s founder and Chairman, who passed away in September. 2022 marked the 20th anniversary of the IBAL Anti-Litter League.