Dublin’s north inner city labelled ‘blackspot’ in latest litter survey

There were mixed fortunes for Dublin in the first post-lockdown litter survey, with the north inner city bottom of the rankings.

t was the only area deemed a ‘litter blackspot’, according to the results of the analysis carried out on behalf of Irish Business Against Litter (IBAL).

Dublin city centre was also found to be ‘littered’ by An Taisce, who carried out the survey for IBAL, but Dún Laoghaire was judged to be ‘cleaner than European norms’.

Tallaght was in the ‘clean to European norms’ category, while Ballymun was branded ‘littered’. However, both areas registered significant year-on-year improvements. 

Of the 25 sites in the area surveyed, only two were found to be clean and 17 were ‘heavily littered’, or worse. For the north inner city, it’s the worst result since 2014.

At the ESB site on Sheriff Street Lower at Ossory Road, sacks of rubbish were found abandoned, along with piles of litter.

Aldborough Place was also subjected to dumping, while heavy levels of food and alcohol-related items had been discarded in the water along the canal walk.

At Spencer Dock, bicycles, railings and industrial rubbish were found to have been dumped in the canal.

Commenting on the results, Conor Horgan of IBAL said there had been “a gradual if unspectacular” clean-up of the north inner city over the past seven years. However, recent surveys suggested this has “unravelled”.

“Nearby Ballymun has improved a lot in the past 24 months – why can’t the same happen in this area?” he asked.

The latest IBAL survey revealed that the majority of towns around the country have cleaned up over the past 12 months. However, litter in the main cities has worsened to levels not seen in a decade.

Mr Horgan pointed out that all but one of the bottom 10 places in the rankings were occupied by urban areas.

“For cities, this survey paints a bleak picture,” he said. “Litter problems have worsened to a level we have not seen in the past 10 years. Now that we’ve emerged from lockdown, we cannot use it as an excuse for high levels of litter.”

The study found no fall-off in Covid-related litter, with a 30pc increase in disposable masks dropped on the ground and an increase in cans and bottles on the streets.

Despite this, the survey showed a 20pc drop in coffee cup litter and a steep reduction in discarded cigarette butts.

IBAL was once again critical of the failure of local authorities to address sites they have previously highlighted as being heavily littered, especially in urban areas.

Of the 103 such sites identified last year, fewer than half were cleaned up in 2021.

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