Galway’s bumper tourist season is directly attributable to the fact that it has made significant improvements in its little status, a Galway City Councillor has claimed.
Galway maintained its ‘Clean to European Norms’ status in the latest Irish Business Against Litter (IBAL) Anti-Litter League 2012, while the city has jumped from 31st position to 23rd.
Welcoming the results, Cllr Niall McNelis said the improvement was “probably” the reason the city had had one of its best tourist seasons in the last four years.
Cllr McNelis said the city should now “push on” and endeavour to reach the ‘Cleaner than European Norms’ standard.
“There’s a bit of pride out there in the city and I think we should really keep the momentum going in making sure that Galway does become one of the cleanest cities in Ireland,” added Cllr McNelis.
The Labour councillor said an increase in the numbers of bins, volunteer efforts such as Glan Suas Gaillimh and the hard work of city council staff had all contributed to the result.
“There’s a lot of litter-picking, a lot of volunteering going on. Extra bins worked. I’ve always referred to the staff that come into the town in the morning and make it look beautiful as magicians. It looks really, really well, so they have to be complimented,” he said.
Established in 2002, the IBAL Anti-Litter League was developed to mobilise local authorities into action on the subject of litter. The programme involves An Taisce regularly monitoring litter levels in towns and cities across Ireland according to international standards.
While no Irish towns reached the ‘Cleaner than European Norms’ status in 2011, 18 towns have reached the top level of IBAL rankings this year, including Waterford City. Cavan Town was voted the cleanest town in Ireland.
Speaking about Galway’s performance in the latest litter table, IBAL Chairman, Dr Tom Cavanagh said that, while the city had improved greatly, there was still some room for improvement.
“The IBAL League has seen the cleanliness of key destinations such as Cork and Galway improve greatly in recent years, but the routes by which they are accessed let them down,” said Dr Cavanagh.
Cllr McNelis said that the city and county councils would have to look more closely at the areas on the approach to the city, but said that, compared to other towns placed higher up on the list, Galway had done exceptionally well. Galway was judged on a larger geographical area than other small towns on the list, with areas such as Knocknacarra and Salthill included in the city’s catchment area
“If you break it down by population, we would have scored way better than everybody else, but we do have to keep it going. Everyone has to realise that everybody has a role to play in this one. The knock-on effect is that Galway is probably one of the best cities for tourism and we have to keep that momentum going,” said Cllr McNelis.