View Cardiff’s litter hot spots in a larger map
Cardiff has the messiest streets in Wales, according to a new league table from the Welsh Government.
Of the highways inspected in Cardiff, 84% met minimum standards of cleanliness – the lowest in the country and 10% below the Welsh average of 94%.
One campaigner said he wasn’t surprised by the figures, claiming Cardiff was probably Britain’s dirtiest city. But Cardiff council said an independent audit had shown improved cleanliness for three years in a row.
All councils have to inspect their highways, pavements and verges and record how many were largely free of litter and flytipping.
In 2009-10, Blaenau Gwent and Denbighshire were below Cardiff in the Welsh Government’s league table but the following year they both improved – to 99% in Denbighshire.
At the same time, Cardiff and the Vale of Glmorgan’s performance worsened, with the Vale plummeting from 95% to 86%.
“The litter problem in Cardiff is an absolute disgrace,” said Terry Phillips, area Neighbourhood Watch co-ordinator for Pontcanna, Riverside, Canton and Victoria Park.
“I would say Cardiff is probably the dirtiest city in the whole of the UK.
“Litter from takeaways is being dropped and left for weeks on end. The council don’t put enough bins out for the public to put rubbish in.
“The council isn’t taking the concern seriously. Litter is an eyesore and it can be dangerous, because people can fall over it.”
He said he supported greater recycling, but the move to fortnightly collections of non-recyclable waste had confused some people.
“People forget what day they should put out their black bags, which the seagulls rip apart. Then you get rats having a meal.
“But that’s no excuse for people dropping fag ends, papers and things.
“When I’ve asked people to pick up their litter, they say it gives people a job to do.”
He said the capital’s dirty streets gave visitors a bad impression of Wales, potentially deterring business people from investing in Cardiff.
A Keep Wales Tidy spokeswoman said: “It is disappointing that highways and verges are not as clean as they could be.”
A Cardiff council spokesman said: “As the biggest city in Wales by some distance, Cardiff faces a number of challenges in keeping its highways free of litter due to the density of its population and the rapidly increasing number of visitors attracted to our prestigious shopping and cultural attractions.”
The council is constantly reviewing how to meet the increasing demands on its waste management service, he said.
In January 2011, it created a new strategy to improve the city’s cleanliness, backed up with extra resources for 2012-13. The caddie system has also been introduced within the last year, where food waste is put in lock-shut caddies for collection.
A recent audit by Keep Wales Tidy showed Cardiff’s index of general street cleanliness had improved each year for the three years to 2010-11, he added.
Vale of Glamorgan council said the figures in the Welsh Government’s league table were only a snapshot, based on the 2% of adopted highways which council staff had surveyed.
Clifford Parish, operational manager for waste management and cleansing, said: “It can be a postcode lottery of cleanliness, depending on the random selection of the streets picked in the 2% sample and can give a false result in considering the overall cleanliness of a Welsh local authority’s highways.
“The reduction in cleanliness of our highways and relevant land from 2009-10 to 2010-11 is more about the choice of the low number of sample areas than the overall performance.”
He said some council officers had raised concerns for years that comparisons between councils should be based not on the figures the Welsh Government collates but on Keep Wales Tidy’s independent survey, covering twice as many streets and open spaces.