The landscape of West Cork belongs to us all

spring clean

Posted on: 2nd April, 2014

Category: Features

Contributor: Sheila Mullins

Pictured at the launch of West Cork’s Spring Clean were Dr Mary Stack, Cork County Council, the Green Flag Committee from Clonakilty Community College, Rita O’Neill and Mike Deasy of Clonakilty Tidy Town, Sarah McGovern representing An Tasice and Dave Sheehan of KWD.

This month is the perfect time to ‘take pride in your place’ and get West Cork in tip-top shape for the launch of the Wild Atlantic Way. The National Spring Clean is Ireland’s largest anti-litter initiative organised by An Taisce in conjunction with local councils. The campaign runs throughout the month of April every year with clean-up events taking place in towns and villages all over the country.

The 2014 spring clean for West Cork was launched on April 2 in Clonakilty by model Sarah McGovern who has been An Taisce’s National Spring Clean ambassador for several years now. Local schools and community groups joined Sarah in Emmet Square to kickstart the campaign. This year’s theme is roadside litter and branded car bins were handed out at the launch to encourage people to take litter home with them and not throw it out a window – where it becomes an eyesore and can harm wildlife.

The whole initiative relies on volunteers in the community with over 500,000 participating throughout Ireland last April. Teddy Browne, West Cork Litter Waste Inspector with the Environmental Section of Cork County Council, stresses the importance of people taking ownership of their own landscape, “We must get a handle on the litter situation, with particular emphasis on marine waste and debris. The recent storms showed how much litter is discarded on our beaches and in our seas, and how that doesn’t disappear but floats around, ready to be washed up again in bad weather.

We have a huge opportunity now with the Wild Atlantic Way to make the roadsides and coastline of West Cork something we can be proud to show off to visitors. It’s so easy to get involved either in a community event or by just choosing a small beach near your home and spending a couple of hours yourself picking up discarded rubbish.”

Taking part in the National Spring Clean is very straight forward. Organise for a clean up of your local area, to take place any time during April, and register your event online at to receive your free clean up kit. The kit contains valuable tips on how to hold a successful clean-up event, posters to advertise, ideas on how to make your event different, plastic bags, tabards and gloves to keep your hands and clothes safe and clean.

In West Cork you can also get information for your event by phoning Teddy at his office in Skibbereen’s courthouse on 028 21299 or by contacting your local engineer’s office.

Cleaning up the verges of the N71 is a particular focus this year and Dave Sheahan of KWD in Bantry has made a very generous offer to collect rubbish from community groups along the route, starting in Clonakilty and continuing right down to Glengarriff. KWD will supply marked bags and collect and process these bags free of charge. To find out more contact Dave on 027 56673.

A number of events have already been organised including a free WEEE collection on Saturday April 12 in four locations around West Cork – Bantry, Pier Road Car Park; Drimoleague, Old Railway Car Park; Dunmanway, Kilbarry Road by the bring site and Ardfield/Rathbarry at Church Cross. Collections will take place from 10am to 4pm and staff will be onhand to help you unload. Why not consider calling on elderly neighbours to see if they would like to get rid of any old electrical items or removing an appliance that has been dumped near you? You will get huge satisfaction knowing that an eyesore will now be recycled.

Initiatives like the National Spring Clean are making a huge difference to our environment. In 2013 an estimated 550 tonnes of litter was collected with 35 per cent of that being recycled. Another successful initiative is the Farm Plastics Collection that takes place later in the year. Launched in 2007 it has grown year on year and over 1,000 tonnes were collected in 2013!

“I’d like to thank the farmers for getting behind us,” says Teddy. “Imagine if that amount of plastic was being burned or improperly disposed of. Their support has been of huge benefit to our rural visual landscape.

“I’d urge everybody to get involved this year in whatever way they can. We can all contribute to making West Cork a beautiful and safe environment for locals and visitors to admire and enjoy.”

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