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Kilkenny takes top five position in Ireland in the IBAL litter survey

Efforts to reduce litter and improve cleanliness in Kilkenny have paid off as the county ranked fourth out of 40 Irish towns and cities in the Irish Business Against Litter Survey (IBAL).

The annual survey is a comprehensive assessment of litter levels across Ireland and takes into account factors including cleanliness of streets, public areas, approach roads and general wasteland.

Kilkenny was joined in the top five by Maynooth in first place, followed by Mallow, then Sligo. Kilkenny came in fourth and Mullingar took the final top five position.

Ten out of eight Kilkenny sites surveyed by IBAL received the top litter grade, while no Kilkenny site was found to be heavily littered.

Top-ranking sites in Kilkenny included the Bottle Bank at St Canice’s Car Park, St Kieran’s Street, The Mall, High Street and Kilkenny Castle Park.

These sites weren’t just good with regard to litter, but the overall presentation and maintenance of the sites was listed as “excellent”.

Mayor Joe Malone expressed his pride in Kilkenny’s achievement and stated: “This ranking is a reflection of the dedication and hard work put in by our community, the Kilkenny City Area Office, Keep Kilkenny Beautiful and business owners.

“Kilkenny’s successful approach to tackling litter has not only enhanced the aesthetics of the City but has also positively impacted tourism and economic development. A cleaner and more attractive City encourages a welcoming atmosphere for visitors, while also attracting potential investors and businesses. This achievement presents an opportunity for Kilkenny to further strengthen its reputation as an exceptional destination.”

“What sets Kilkenny apart is its decrease in litter, leading to a significant improvement in overall cleanliness,” explained Mags Whelan, Environmental Awareness Officer at Kilkenny County Council.

“This achievement is the result of numerous initiatives implemented in recent years, aimed at reducing litter and promoting responsible waste management practices. The collaborative efforts by authorities, community groups and volunteers, our local Tidy Towns group Keep Kilkenny Beautiful and residents alike have played a crucial role in achieving this remarkable progress.”

Nationally, for the first time since surveys began 20 years ago, no area was found to be “seriously littered’. Although litter levels rose slightly nationwide, over 60% of towns surveyed were deemed clean in 2023.

Waterford City was again named the cleanest city, ahead of Galway. These were the only cities to be judged ‘clean’, with Cork City Centre improving to ‘moderately littered’ . However, Dublin fell to ‘littered’, alongside Limerick.

While, this recent report saw improvements in litter levels across the country, the IBAL argues that these levels will only get better once the Deposit Return Scheme is in place next month.

The scheme will see consumers pay a deposit of 15 cent on cans and up to 25 cent on plastic bottles, refundable on their return.

“This latest survey shows these items to be present in just under half of the hundreds of sites we surveyed,” explained Conor Horgan, spokesperson for the IBAL.

“This scheme will remove a large portion of this litter and bring about a significantly cleaner environment in 2024. While there may be some inconvenience for consumers, the prize is a very real, and a very immediate one.”

However, Conor argues that the next area of focus needs to be on addressing the rise in coffee cup litter, which is now close to peak-Covid levels.

“Coffee cups were found at over 30% of the 500+ sites surveyed. We are concerned at potential delays in introducing a coffee cup levy. We believe this action is needed to stamp out a product which is out of step with the circular economy.

“Irrespective of how recyclable or compostable take-away cups are, these statistics show too many of them are ending up on our streets.”

Source: Irish Independent