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Another strong IBAL showing from Clare’s county town


THE proud record of Ennis in presenting a clean and tidy face to the country was maintained with another high placing in the IBAL rankings.

The final survey of 2021 by business group Irish Business Against Litter (IBAL) shows Ennis retaining third spot in the ranking of 40 towns and cities.

According to the study, nationwide litter levels have risen slightly, with cities faring particularly badly. PPE litter was found to be at its highest level since the pandemic began.

Naas finished top ahead of Portlaoise and Ennis to record its first win in the annual rankings. There was a slight fall in the number of clean towns nationwide, to 22.

The An Taisce report for Ennis stated: “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.”

The IBAL report went into further detail about a number of sites and areas around the town.

The R458 approach from Clareabbey Roundabout was given a Grade A.

The report stated there was welcoming signage that created a positive first impression along this main approach route into Ennis.

“There were a few boarded up houses on the right-hand side but clearly a careful eye is kept on them as there was no obvious litter associated with them.

“There was a virtual absence of litter along this route.”

The R474 approach from Kilrush Road Roundabout was also deemed Grade A.

“This road passes through a mix of industrial, commercial and residential. It was an excellent route in terms of overall presentation and litter – it was exceptionally clean.”

The Quin Road approach also earned a Grade A for the clean and tidy impression created along the route.

“Both the main footpath and the raised pedestrian pathway were in good order with regard to litter,2 the report stated.

Former blackspot, Gort Road Business Park, including Ennis Enterprise Centre, earned a Grade A.

“There was a notable improvement at this site which had been littered the last number of times it was included in IBAL litter surveys.

“A littered area to the front and at the rear no longer harboured litter accumulations. The main roadways / interconnecting roadways were spotless throughout.”

Another to earn a Grade A was the Ennis Recycle Facility.

“This ‘managed’ facility as particularly well presented and maintained – there were no obvious litter issues associated with it. It was a credit to the facility staff.

The report noted the recently unveiled ‘Dressing Rooms’ have further enhanced the wonderful Tim Smythe Park.

“The park has been a top ranking site for a number of years and things were no different this time around.

“All aspects within the park environment were in very good order e.g., artificial pitch / court, playing fields, play grounds, tree planting (with Tidy Towns signage), outdoor PE equipment, litter bins, seating etc. It was noted that graffiti was very much a feature on various surfaces e.g., signage and litter bins.

Ennis Courthouse Environs earned a Grade A with a complete absence of litter in the immediate environs of the courthouse and the grass area with Eamon de Valera to the front – “all aspects were in very good condition”.

The Ennis Bus & Train Station was given a Grade B with the main litter items within the station grounds being food related (e.g., coffee cups, plastic bottles, mineral cans etc.).

They were mainly found around the area of the bus stop and at the base of the shrubbery to the rear of the station. Cigarette butts were pronounced in the immediate area of the bus stop.
O’Connell Street earned a Grade A and the report noted that as a main shopping street, it was exceptionally clean. It is well served by fresh looking litter bins.

Dunnes Stores Car Park earned a Grade B+ and was deemed overall to be in good condition.

The report showed PPE litter at record levels, with an increase in the presence of both masks and gloves.

“It would appear that this litter is accumulating as the pandemic continues, as there remains an understandable reticence to pick up other people’s PPE,” said IBAL’s Conor Horgan.

“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.

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