Avoca River deemed ‘littered’ in latest IBAL survey
A new survey has found that parts of Wicklow’s coastline and beaches have seen no improvements in the level of littering.
The Avoca River in Arklow was rated as ‘littered’ in the survey conducted for the business group, Irish Business Against Litter (IBAL). The result is the same as last year and puts Arklow near the bottom of the list of 42 areas nationwide.
Brittas Bay and the Dargle River in Bray were found to be ‘moderately littered’ in the assessment of coastal areas and waterways carried out by the Environmental Education Unit of An Taisce.
In relation to the Avoca River in Arklow, the surrounding roads were assessed to be ‘generally good’ with the beach area described as ‘moderately littered.’ However, the quay and harbour ‘really brought down the overall litter grade.’
The bins on the South Quay were found to be ‘exposed to wind and seagulls [were] picking at rubbish... resulting in items of rubbish on ground surrounding the bins.’
The report also noted that litter included discarded fishing nets, plastic matting and tyres. It added that ‘a poor impression was created behind some fencing where heavy levels of a wide variety had accumulated.’ The report also raised concerns about the level of dog fouling in the area.
The Arklow harbour area is managed of Wicklow County Council.
Speaking to the Wicklow People, Cllr Pat Fitzgerald, Cathaoirleach of Arklow Municipal District said, ‘It is disappointing as there has been a great effort to keep these areas clean. There has been much work done by groups such as the Tidy Towns and municipal district staff. Lessons need to be learnt from the results.’
‘We are happy that the areas we concentrate on like the Riverwalk were found to be good,’ said Sandra Hall, Supervisor of Arklow Tidy Towns. ‘However, the results are very disappointing. We are hoping that more will be done in future to improve the tidiness of the harbour area.’
Meanwhile, large parts of Brittas Bay were said to be in ‘good order with regard to litter’ but issues were observed at the South Beach. Litter included cigarette butts, clothing, toys, horse manure and wet wipes. The report also highlighted that one of the ‘Do Not Litter’ signs was ‘almost illegible.’
The River Dargle area was described as ‘very much a mixed site in terms of litter.’ The harbour was found to be ‘not too bad’. However, the assessors said, ‘it was very disappointing to see the beautifully landscaped riverwalk area so casually treated.’ The report noted food and alcohol-related litter ‘had been discarded with reckless abandon - on the ground, seating area and within the planted areas. With a gust of wind much of this could end up in the water.’
Commenting on the survey, a spokesperson for Bray Tidy Towns (BTT) said they ‘regret the comments made in the survey about the river walk.
‘However, there are changes planned which may help reduce the litter in this area. BTT are aware that Bray Municipal District have plans to erect a ‘Belly Bin’ at the town end of this walk. While, a lot of litter picking and weeding work has been carried out by volunteers from BTT, Dargle Area Residents Association and Bray Coastcare. We are looking forward to the opening of the underpass linking this river walk by footpath and cycle path to the harbour as it will increase pedestrian traffic.
‘This will eliminate the dead-end nature of the walk and bring a heightened public awareness and appreciation of this well laid out amenity,’ they added.
Wicklow County Council had yet to respond to queries from the Wicklow People at the time of going to press.