Some streets in Cork were reported as being littered.

Litter report: City loses clean status

There were mixed results in the latest litter report for Cork city and county.

The final litter survey of 2020 by business group Irish Business Against Litter (IBAL) shows Fermoy again ‘clean to European norms’ in sixth place in the ranking of 37 towns, while Cork City has slipped to ‘moderately littered’ in 24th and Mahon to ‘littered’ in 32nd.

The An Taisce report for Cork city centre stated: “Cork city will be disappointed to lose its clean status after many years. While some of the approach roads scored well like the N27 South Link Road, Model Farm Road and Airport Road, others were poor like Wilton Road, South Ring Road, Sarsfield Roundabout and Commons Road – the latter was by far the most heavily littered.

“Food related litter, particularly fast-food wrapper and plastic bottles was noted at many of these approach roads. Lower John Street was a litter blackspot. Douglas Street deserves a special mention for the great effort and initiatives that have taken place in terms of overall presentation.

“Half Moon Street was exceptionally freshly presented and excellent with regard to litter. The residential areas of Magazine Road and Tramore Lawn were very much deserving of the top litter grade. Connell Street had many buildings which were in poor order but clearly a careful eye is kept on them as there was no litter directly associated with them.”


The report said: “Another top result for Fermoy. The three approach roads were all top-ranking, creating a positive first impression of this town. This high standard was sustained for over half the sites, with three sites just missing the top grade. Fermoy Town Park was not just good with regard to litter but a very well presented and maintained environment. Abbey Street presented well with paving and painted buildings creating a positive impression. Mart Car Park was by far the most heavily littered site in Fermoy – not just casual litter but discarded shopping trolleys and general debris.”


“Mahon has slipped slightly after an improved result last summer. One of the real jewels was Loughmahon Park. It is a wonderful resource and has been very well cared for. Both Mahon Point Retail Park and the bottle/clothing bank within were excellent, not just clear of litter but very freshly presented and maintained.

“Some of the poorer sites had been highlighted in previous IBAL surveys and there was little improvement this time around. The Pedestrian link off Ringmahon Road to Aldi (opposite Ashwood) was by far the most heavily littered. Lakelands Car Park and Lakelands Crescent were both poor.”

One explanation for the rise in litter lies in the restrictions surrounding cleaning services during the pandemic.

IBAL spokesperson Conor Horgan said: “While council workers have not been on the streets as much as normal, the general public has been spending more time than ever out of doors.

“There was a sharp rise in the amounts of litter on approach roads to towns, reflecting the fact that the benign winter has seen masses of people out walking.

“Ironically, too many of them are showing a shameful disregard for the environment they are enjoying,” he said.

Meanwhile coffee cups were among the most prevalent litter types found across the country, while there was another rise in glass bottles and cans.

The survey also showed that the second half of 2020 brought a further increase in PPE-related litter, primarily masks. “Eight months into the pandemic, we would have hoped people would have moved to reusable masks with a resulting fall in mask-related litter. In fact, we are seeing more and more of them ending up our streets,” concluded Mr Horgan.