The latest survey by the Irish Business Against Litter (IBAL) alliance shows Sligo town once again Clean to European Norms, but slipping from 21st to 24th place out of the 40 towns surveyed.
However, Sligo Tidy Towns management team has described the litter survey report as “a snapshot of our town at any given time”.
And they argue that “while our rating for this first round result in 2015 is down on last year’s ranking, the general consensus amongst the Sligo public is that the town is now a much cleaner place to live and work in”.
The Tidy Towns group pointed out that while the survey noted certain littered areas around the town and on some approach roads, it also highlighted the cleanliness of several other parts of the town.
“When it comes to litter, there is always more which can be done, both at local authority and citizen level. We all need to take responsibility for our own areas as clean roads, streets lanes and estates make for a better living experience for all of us,” they said in a statement.
“The Sligo Tidy Towns voluntary group remains firmly committed towards doing everything it can to help enhance the appearance and spirit of Sligo.
“That commitment is strengthened by the continuing goodwill and support shown to us by the Sligo public.
“The latest illustration of that came last Saturday when the Sligo Tidy Towns street bucket collection raised an impressive €3,560.
“Our sincere thanks to everybody who supported us”, the statement said.
While there has been the drop in rankings, Sligo’s situation is very different from just a few years ago when it was branded the dirtiest town in Ireland, after finishing bottom of 50 towns surveyed.
And it appears that standards nationally have risen in recent times. The IBAL survey showed another improvement in cleanliness levels overall nationally, with 75% of areas as least as Clean as European Norms.
For the first time, no towns were branded as ‘blackspots’ or ‘seriously littered’.
Killarney was judged the cleanest town in the country of those surveyed, followed by Dungarvan and Tralee.
The survey, carried out by An Taisce on behalf of IBAL, showed sweet papers, cigarette butts, fast food wrappers and chewing gum were the most common forms of litter.
Dog fouling, while not as prevalent, continues to be a source of public concern, according to IBAL.
“Where special bins are used to collect dog waste, they need to be emptied in tandem with demand. Otherwise they become unhygienic eyesores, as is the case with many recycling facilities,” says Conor Horgan of IBAL.
1 in 10 shopping centres were litter blackspots. “It is not always easy to identify where responsibility lies for littered sites in a town, but in the case of shopping centre car parks the local authority just needs to enforce the law with the landowner,” Mr Horgan said.