Masks drive littering in Irish towns to worst levels in over 13 years
There hasn't been as many unclean towns in Ireland since 2007, according to a recent report.
The dumping of personal protective equipment (PPE) is a significant contributory factor to littering in Irish cities being worse than it has been since 2007.
This is according to a recent report commissioned by Irish Business Against Litter (IBAL), which showed a dramatic fall in the number of towns and cities deemed to be ‘clean’ across the country.
Cities fared particularly badly in the study, with Dublin, Galway and Limerick city centres all losing their 'clean' status.
Kilkenny was once again judged best of the 40 towns and cities surveyed, with ‘seriously littered’ Dublin North Inner City at the bottom of the table.
Athlone, Killarney and Portlaoise all featured near the top of the 'clean' list, while Tipperary, Tallaght and Cork Northside featured at the other end of the table, having deemed to be 'littered'.
There has also been an increase in bottles and cans found littered as a result of more people drinking outdoors due to the closure of pubs.
However, there was a reduction in cigarette butts found on the ground, perhaps also a reflection of pubs and offices being closed.
Speaking about the findings, IBAL's Conor Horgan said: "The rise in litter levels this year is across the board.
"The Covid crisis has seen more dumping, more outdoor socialising, especially drinking, and PPE litter, but less cleaning by local authorities and less activity by volunteers like Tidy Towns – a perfect storm, in many ways, which has brought us to the worst position we’ve been in in over 10 years."
You can see IBAL's findings in full here.