ENNIS has retained its third spot ranking in the final Irish Business Against Litter (IBAL) survey of 2021.

As Clare’s only surveyed town in the IBAL survey, Ennis was found to be cleaner than European norms as it was marked the third cleanest town and city in the country behind Naas and Portlaoise, it is the first time Naas has claimed top spot.

In its report on Ennis, An Taisce noted, “It is only fitting that the 2021 Tidy Town winner should score so well in the IBAL litter league. It is particularly encouraging that a site which had been seriously littered over the last number of IBAL surveys was now deemed top-ranking – Gort Road Business Park”.

“Tim Smythe Park has been very much deserving of a the top litter grade for the last number of years and this time around the park environment has been further enhanced by the provision of newly unveiled ‘Dressing Rooms’. Other top ranking sites included O’Connell Street, Ennis Courthouse and Ennis Recycle Facility – the latter is a ‘managed’ facility and certainly the staff deserve special mention as it was so well maintained. This is not always the case in other ‘managed’ facilities throughout the country”.

Nationwide litter levels have risen slightly, the survey found with PPE litter at its highest level since the pandemic began. IBAL’s Conor Horgan outlined that the presence of discarded masks and gloves is on the rise. “The disposable blue face mask has become a ubiquitous part of the landscape up and down the country. People have not moved to reusable masks and people are not taking care of their masks.”

International research has found PPE litter accounting for as much as 5% of all litter, and likely to have “a devastating, lasting effect on the environment”. Mask use is forecast to remain high into 2022.

There was a significant rise in other pandemic-related litter, such as coffee cups, while alcohol-related litter remained at previous levels despite hospitality reopening and the survey being conducted in winter.

IBAL has frequently criticised the failure of local authorities to clean up sites identified in its surveys as heavily littered, and this was again the case. Of 89 such sites highlighted in summer last year, only 33% had been addressed by the time of this most recent survey. 2021 was the 19th year of the IBAL Anti-Litter League.

Cork and Limerick City Centres, both littered, showed a deterioration on the previous survey, while Dublin City Centre fell to heavily littered. Galway City lost its clean status, leaving Waterford as the country’s only clean city.

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If you’re here, you care about County Clare. So do we. Did you rely on us for Covid-19 updates, follow our election coverage, or visit The Clare Echo every week for breaking news and sport? The Clare Echo invests in local journalism and we want to safeguard its future in our county. By becoming a subscriber you are supporting what we do, will receive access to all our premium articles and a better experience, while helping us improve our offering to you. Subscribe to clareecho.ie and get the first six months for just €3 a month (less than 75c per week), and thereafter €8 per month. Cancel anytime, limited time offer. T&Cs Apply. www.clareecho.ie.

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