Drogheda has just a few weeks to get its house in order and improve the dismal showing it has had in the Irish Business Against Litter (IBAL) inspections over the past few years.
Despite the best efforts of local volunteers, Tidy Towns and council staff, there are serious litter blackspots in the town and surrounds and there are calls for urgent action as the inspections will be taking place over the next number of weeks.
The #LookingGoodDrogheda Campaign has issued a request out to all businesses and residential groups in Drogheda to take every possible step to keep the streets and public spaces of the town clear of rubbish, litter and any signs of neglect in the coming weeks when IBAL judges will be inspecting the town.
Drogheda had received a low mark over a period of two years and in the last inspection period, had made improvements in its ranking. This was based on a substantial amount of time and effort being put into an overall strategy and approach.
Speaking as efforts are underway to make a substantial push to present the town in the best way, Drogheda Tidy Town's Kevin Callan said that efforts by multiple groups and agencies are making an impact but that we need all shoulders to the wheel in the next month.
"We are coordinating with groups such as Louth County Council, Tidy Towns, Love Drogheda BIDs and Drogheda & District Chamber. Multiple schools and residents’ groups are also on the ground working on the town,” said Cllr Callan. “We are focusing on key areas such as our entry roads and public spaces, but we need to keep going and do as much as possible. This rating is national news and impacts on us as a community and as a town, this is the type of publicity that can help or hinder trade, inward investment and tourism".
Drogheda & District Chamber’s Robert Murray added his support to the efforts and to the sense of urgency.
“This is not a drill. IBAL judging is imminent, and we have an excellent opportunity now to be recognised as a town that is clean to European norms – but we all must play our part,” said Mr Murray. “ If you see litter outside your premises, or on the street, please put it in the bin. We should all encourage those around us to do the same and be proud to say, it’s #LookingGoodDrogheda!”.
Mayor Michelle Hall says the Looking Good Drogheda collaborative campaign has been successful on improving the cleanliness and aesthetic of our town,
"But we need to not just keep up this standard but also look to improve our standing,” she adds. “Thanks to all those who come out daily and weekly to improve their immediate environments. Let’s put the push on to get Drogheda not just looking good but great".
Drogheda is currently ranked 32nd out of 39 towns in the IBAL Litter League, and the collective goal is to get to "Clean to European Standards" and then continue to make incremental progress and improvements on a continuous basis.
“Over the past number of months, a co-ordinated effort by a number of partners and community groups has been led to try and reduce the prevalence of litter in and around Drogheda. The IBAL inspection is how our town is viewed by independent judges each year and its ranking impacts on how our town is portrayed,” said Trevor Connolly, CEO of LoveDrogheda BIDS . “In the most recent report we have moved up seven places and we need everyone to play their part in keeping and improving Drogheda's appearance everyday! Small steps to reduce, reuse and recycle will help us to keep moving forward as a clean and green town”.
The judging panel has noted that they will be paying particular attention to cigarette butts, face masks, disposable drinks and coffee cups.
“A tremendous amount of work has been carried out by businesses, Louth County Council, Community groups, Drogheda Tidy Towns, the Chamber of Commerce, street groups and resident associations over the last number of months and we are asking that this effort is continued over the foreseeable future,” added Trevor. “Work is ongoing in trying to reduce litter on our town and with illegal dumping. We need everyone to continue to help by cleaning up outside your premises”.