Irish Business Against Litter (IBAL) has found that Kinsale, Ballinacurra, Bantry, and Castletownbere in Cork all have litter issues.

Kinsale and other Cork areas described as ‘littered’

In its annual survey of coastal regions and inland waterways, Irish Business Against Litter (IBAL) released its findings which indicate that Kinsale, Ballinacurra, Bantry, and Castletownbere in Cork all have litter issues. The analysis of 33 locations across the country shows some progress in the previously most litter-affected areas, including White Bay and the Cork Harbour vicinity around Blackrock Castle.

However, the majority of beaches are still struggling to achieve a clean status, even though the poor summer weather led to a decrease in visitor numbers.

Beaches, harbours, rivers and their immediate environs were monitored by An Taisce in June and July. While there was a 50% rise in clean sites overall, the survey again found coastal areas to be more littered than towns.

For the first time since IBAL commenced its coastal surveys in 2017, no area was deemed a litter blackspot. Blackrock Castle (Cork Harbour), a blackspot in previous IBAL surveys, improved its status to littered, as did White Bay.

Disposable vapes were revealed as an emerging form of litter, encountered in 1 in 7 of all visits, making them significantly more common on our beaches than on our streets.

“This time last year we were not seeing this form of litter at all, so its rapid emergence is worrying. So, too, is its impact on our environment,” said Conor Horgan of IBAL.

Vapes contain electronics, chemical waste and single-use plastic which breaks down into microparticles, endangering sea life.

“At a time when we are urgently trying to reduce plastic pollution in our oceans, the emergence of vapes is concerning,” he added.

Ballincurra fared poorly in the An Taisce report which said that the site displayed a clear and significant litter presence, particularly noticeable along the water's edge. Much of the observable litter seemed to have been there for a considerable time, indicating inadequate cleaning efforts over an extended period. Graffiti was also evident in this surveyed area, and there was an absence of visible litter bins, according to An Taisce.

Kinsale was also described as ‘littered’ by the survey. Although numerous litter bins were distributed throughout the town, certain bins were overflowing, with contents scattered by birds onto the ground.

The survey also noted that there were no apparent provisions for waste separation or recycling, which was a missed opportunity for the tourist spot.

The An Taisce report for Castletownbere stated that “there was a slippage in litter levels compared to the summer of 2022, and a very obvious water-based litter presence”.

According to the An Taisce report regarding White Bay, it noted that there has been an improvement in litter levels in comparison to 2022. However, the site's condition still varies, with notably clean sections and areas with substantial litter accumulation.