I am but the messenger don't shoot me. Please don't bludgeon; maim; harm; set fire to; maul; pelt with gravel; clobber or in any other meaningful or serious way attempt to physically injure me, for I am not the Irish Business Against Litter, I am merely here to recount their annual report which ranks, in order of descending cleanliness, the towns of Ireland.
Like some large salmon returning by instinct once a year to its spawning grounds, so too do the An Taisce inspectors - working on behalf of IBAL - return to the towns and cities of Ireland in some grand annual tradition. But unlike the salmon, these inspectors are not going to these towns for a spawning frenzy - I have been advised to make that abundantly clear after a recent compulsory defamation workshop - no, instead these inspectors were trawling through the towns of our land to evaluate them based on their cleanliness.
The towns and cities were rated based on the amount of litter evident in public places and the number of litter 'blackspots' as well as several other factors. The 40 areas assessed were graded as being either "Cleaner than European Norms"; "Clean to European Norms"; "Moderately littered"; "Littered" or "Seriously Littered". Now, you may be wondering what on earth constitutes this "European Norm". Is there some perfectly averagely littered European town that is used as the benchmark against which all other European metropoles are judged? Well, after a quick search of "average European town", the first result in Google Images was in fact, conveniently, Dublin. So simply imagine that all other entries on this list are simply judged against the apparent European median of litter, Dublin.
Confusingly though, the fourth most littered area surveyed by An Taisce was 'Dublin North Inner City' which was described as 'Littered'. So while I leave you to try and get your heads around the idea that Dublin has been judged as being more littered than Dublin - the average European city - here are the five most littered areas in Ireland, according to IBAL, in ascending order:
- Cork North City - Littered
- Dublin North Inner City -Littered
- Galway City (Ballybane) - LIttered
- Ballymun -LIttered
- Limerick City SE (Galvone)- Seriously Littered
Well, apologies Limerick City SE (Galvone). Again as I said, I am but the humble messenger here and I am certainly in no position to judge; rubbish, debris, litter and squalor have been my bosom buddies, my cohabitants, for many years.
If it makes residents of these areas feel any better about their being shit all over by these rankings - which'll surely only add to the litter issue - the press release miscapitalised some of the letters in 'LIttered' which I have copied above. Now, I never thought I'd become the kind of man who'd stoop to highlighting grammatical mishaps in press releases and, until this moment, that has proudly been the case. This is a brave new era.
The full list is as follows from cleanest to most littered:
- Dublin Airport Environs
- Waterford City
- Cork City
- Limerick City
- Waterford City (Ballybeg)
- Galway City
- Dublin City Centre
- Mahon (Cork City)
- Cork North City
- Dublin North Inner City
- Galway City (Ballybane)
- Limerick City SE (Galvone)