DESPITE numerous litter blackspots still existing in Waterford (such as in Kilbarry), the city once again performed strongly in the latest Irish Business Against Litter (IBAL) Anti-Litter League.
While Ennis is named as the overall cleanest town for 2017, Waterford City ranks in 13th position as Ireland’s cleanest city and is designated as being ‘Cleaner than European Norms’.
In its report, An Taisce, who conducted the survey on behalf of IBAL, said of Waterford: “Waterford City retained its high standards of cleanliness, but was let down by a litter blackspot at the old Waterford Crystal site, once the pride and joy of the city. Anybody arriving into the city by road would have been greeted by top ranking routes in terms of litter and general presentation. The Train Station was particularly fresh and clean in appearance, but the exterior of the bus station was heavily littered. The People’s Park wasn’t just clear of litter but was freshly presented and maintained and is clearly respected by the users. Many of the city centre streets were in very good order e.g. Hanover Street, O’Connell Street, Barronstrand/Broad Street – they had been attractively laid out, some with seating, sculpture and ornamental trees. Waterford Institute of Technology also got the top litter grade.”

Morning mist near the Holy Family Church in Ballybricken. Waterford remains Ireland's tidiest city.  									| Photo: Noel Browne

Morning mist near the Holy Family Church in Ballybricken. Waterford remains Ireland's tidiest city. | Photo: Noel Browne

The report added: “The majority of the residential areas within Ballybeg scored very well – bar one individual corner site at Clonard Park which has suffered long term abuse and neglect. Tesco was exceptionally fresh in appearance and Six Cross Roads Business Park was also top ranking. A site close to the Community Development Project (beside some allotments) has been used as a dumping ground for carpets – huge quantities of carpets were discarded.”
At the awards function held in Dublin last week, IBAL reiterated the threat of increased illegal dumping as pay-by-weight becomes more widespread.
Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment Denis Naughten said he was pleased to note the overall results of the litter league which show that 80 per cent of towns and cities in Ireland were found to be as clean as or cleaner than their European counterparts.
However, he said he is concerned by the areas that were deemed to be seriously littered.
“The success achieved across the country in the 2017 litter league shows that, collectively, we are continuing to improve the situation,” he said.
“However, we cannot afford to be complacent. Ireland still has a significant issue with litter and according to the IBAL survey, chewing gum, cigarette butts and cans continue to be major sources of litter. It is important that we continue to work together to win the fight. Ultimately, it is a matter for each of us to take personal responsibility by disposing of waste and litter in an appropriate manner, in order to preserve and protect our environment for all of us to enjoy.”
Commenting on Waterford’s performance, City and County Mayor Pat Nugent praised the people of Waterford on achieving the litter free ranking.
“Cleanliness is crucial in a city like ours which is so heavily reliant on tourism. This latest survey shows that significant progress has been made in areas highlighted in last year’s report,” he said.
“We commend our Council staff and the various voluntary groups and members of the general public who have worked tirelessly to improve our city and its image. However, Waterford’s ability to achieve this litter free status not only reflects well on Waterford City & County Council, but on the city and indeed the county as a whole. This level of cleanliness involves a cohesive effort between the Council’s staff, local businesses, organisations and residents, all of whom have worked unceasingly to attain this status. Many residential groups carry out regular clean ups in their streets and local area. Many congratulations to everyone responsible for maintain our city’s litter free status: We look forward to ongoing co-operation from all in the city to retain this status in 2018.”
Waterford City & County Council’s Director of Services for Environment Fergus Galvin welcomed the IBAL results for Waterford and Ballybeg but noted that “a small number of sites did not score well in the survey and are having an adverse impact on our overall ranking.”
“The Council will focus our endeavours on these sites in the coming months with a view to improving our rankings in 2018,” he said.