Limerick: Takeaway food and illegal dumping among causes of poor litter grade

IBAL report says Limerick city has deteriorated over the past year

Much of the litter was food-related. Photograph: iStock

Much of the litter was food-related. Photograph: iStock


Seven areas of Limerick city received a “D” grade in this year’s Irish Business Against Litter (IBAL) survey, with a local litter picking group saying the issue of illegal dumping and littering is only getting worse.

According to the IBAL report, Limerick city, along with other cities in Ireland, has deteriorated over the past year.

The riverside environments in Limerick city were noted as clean and well presented, however, overall there was more litter present than in previous years. The litter was mainly cigarette butts and food and alcohol related.

The Limerick city area received five D grades, up from just one received in 2020.

The basement of a building on Lower Mallow street along with basements on Cecil Street were heavily littered, with food, alcohol and household rubbish present.

A laneway opposite Osmington Terrace had also accumulated alcohol litter and household items, according to IBAL.

An area opposite the entrance to Cruises Street car park and Thomondgate were also heavily polluted, with evidence of burnt items and dumping in the latter.

Galvone in Limerick city south fared worse than the rest of Limerick city, with IBAL deeming the area heavily littered. There was just one A graded site, the Roxboro Shopping Centre.

A site at end of Galvone Business Park received a D grade for illegal dumping, as did the recycling facility at the Roxboro Shopping Centre.

The report claimed the business park site “suffered terrible neglect and abuse”, with dumped domestic and industrial waste recorded. The recycling facility was also experiencing dumping “on a huge scale”.

Helen O’Donnell, chair of Limerick city tidy towns, said the litter problem has escalated since Covid, especially with takeaway food as people were not disposing of their cartons properly.

She said biodegradable containers could be a solution, but in order for these to work, the public bins need to be segregated into waste, recycling and compostable.

Ms O’Donnell said their tidy towns group have a huge number of volunteers who pick up the mess twice a week. “Sometimes you do wonder why we do it, we go around to the same place, picking up the same rubbish.”

In an effort to combat the problem, Ms O’Donnell said it should be mandatory for everyone to have a bin collection, or some proof that they are disposing of their litter legally. There also needs to be tougher action on illegal dumpers, she said.

Ms O’Donnell added that there needs to be more awareness of recycling. “You often see electrical goods dumped, when these can be returned to a shop, or disposed of at a local authority waste site.”

She lamented the fact that so much of the local authority’s money is spent on street cleaning and litter management. “That could be going into play parks, or amenities for local people.”

“We really want to have the city and county looking well, and for people to take pride in it.”

Meanwhile, the Mayor of Limerick city and county said that the good work being done to keep the city clean was “being undone by a handful of people.”

“Please use bins provided and if there aren’t bins around, please take your rubbish home with you,” said Cllr Daniel Butler.

“Smokers need to act responsibly and dispose of their butts correctly... private property owners also have to ensure that their buildings are litter free, especially in basements in our Georgian core.”