Cork city centre, Mahon and northside rank poorly in latest litter survey

Cork's northside ranks 37th out of 40 towns and cities surveyed
Cork city centre, Mahon and northside rank poorly in latest litter survey

Street cleaning in progress at Oliver Plunkett Street, Cork. The latest survey by Irish Business Against Litter (IBAL) show that the city centre and Mahon areas were both considered ‘littered’ in 2021, while the northside of Cork City was ‘heavily littered’. Picture Dan Linehan

RESULTS of a survey which identified Cork’s northside as being one of the worst areas in the country to be blighted by litter have been described as “very disappointing” and “challenging news" for active community groups and dedicated and committed city council staff” by councillors in the area.

The latest survey by Irish Business Against Litter (IBAL) show that the city centre and Mahon areas were both considered ‘littered’ in 2021, while the northside of Cork City was ‘heavily littered’.

Of 40 Irish towns and cities surveyed, Mahon ranked 31st and Cork City Centre ranked 32nd. Cork Northside came in at 37.

Speaking to The Echo, Fianna Fáil councillor Tony Fitzgerald described the results of the survey as “challenging news for active community groups and dedicated and committed city council staff”.

“Every effort is being made to reduce the amount of litter and schemes are working and the report highlights positive actions as well.

“Communities are actively working with Cork City Council to prevent littering and the success of the Cork City Green School Programme initiative is very encouraging.

“I’ve never been a fan of these surveys and I would call again on IBAL to revisit this project.”

Set up in 1996, Irish Business Against Litter is an alliance of companies sharing a belief that continued economic prosperity - notably in the areas of tourism, food and direct foreign investment - is contingent on a clean, litter-free environment.

'QUESTIONABLE'

"I know IBAL means well but the methodology and time frame when these surveys are conducted are questionable," Mr Fitzgerald said.

"I recognise that there is a minority who require further encouragement to keep our communities clean and this work is ongoing but by and large people do care about the environment and make the appropriate efforts to make our communities a clean place to live in," he concluded. 

Meanwhile, Independent councillor Ken O'Flynn described the results of the survey as "very disappointing" and "heartbreaking" for all the voluntary groups committed to improving their local areas.

"There are particular black spots that we’re dealing with and we’re finding some members of some community groups very uncooperative when it comes to the good work that Cork City Council is doing and that the communities are doing," he said.

Mr O'Flynn added that he is encouraged by the volunteers who have not been deterred by negative rankings and who continue to do their utmost to keep their local areas tidy. 

There were just five top-ranking sites out of a total of 25 surveyed in Cork City, some of which had shown little or no improvement from previous years.

These included the N20 Commons Road, Dyke Road and Kennedy Quay.

Thomas Davis Street and Carmelite Place on Western Road were two of the most heavily littered sites.

The report also states that “Mahon remains littered, with little change over the past two surveys” while Cork Northside had evidence of more litter than in previous years.

PPE litter was found to be at its highest levels in the areas since the pandemic began.

In better news, of the 40 areas surveyed Fermoy placed in seventh place.

Seven of ten sites in the town got a top grade in the survey, with the Fermoy Town Park being referred to as in “superb condition” and Patrick Street “spotless”.

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