As always, this month sees community groups around West Cork getting out in their high-viz jackets for The National Spring Clean, Ireland’s largest anti-litter initiative organised by An Taisce. The campaign runs throughout the month of April every year with cleanup events taking place in towns and villages all over the country.
On March 30, Cork County Council joined An Taisce, Dunmanway Community Council and local schools to launch the 2015 Spring Clean for West Cork in Dunmanway town centre. At the launch the organisers acknowledged the spirit of volunteerism in West Cork and called for every group to get involved; sports and hobby clubs, local tidy towns and clean coast groups can still register for their free cleanup packs by contacting the environmental department of Cork County Council in Skibbereen on 028 21299 or Inniscarra on 021 4532722.
To assist community groups along the N71, Dave Sheahan of KWD in Bantry has again made a very generous offer to collect bagged rubbish along the route. KWD will supply marked bags and collect and process these bags free of charge. To arrange a collection for your area contact Dave on 027 56673.
As part of the Dunmanway launch, students from Maria Immaculata Community College surveyed drivers at local filling stations to raise awareness of the problem of roadside litter. A free car bin was issued to each respondent to encourage them to take litter home with them and not throw it out a window – where it becomes an eyesore and can harm wildlife.
Cork County Council also took the opportunity to launch their ‘Litter Challenge’ competition for 2015. The objectives of the competition are to reduce litter pollution in the county as a whole, and to encourage community involvement in the solutions to litter pollution. Similar to last year, which saw Drimoleague declared the ‘most litter-free village’ in West Cork, the competition will be run over a six-week period with judging dates to be confirmed soon. For information call the Inniscarra number 021 4532722.
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 are the custodians of the Wild Atlantic Way and it is imperative that we showcase this area as a clean environment to visitors. I would particularly like to acknowledge the support of Clean Coast Groups and encourage everybody to get involved again this year.”
WEEE Ireland is supporting the West Cork initiative with a free collection day for old electrical and battery operated devices on Saturday, April 25 in three locations around West Cork – Bantry, Pier Road Car Park; Drimoleague, Old Railway Car Park; Dunmanway, Kilbarry Road by the bring site. Collections will take place from 10am to 4pm and staff will be on hand 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?
Teddy Browne believes that education is key to tackling our litter problem, “We in the Environmental Section of the Council are fully supporting the Green Flag Schools Programme by working with coordinators to help schools attain their award for litter awareness and waste minimisation. It is vital we instill environmental awareness in the young.”
Of course enforcement is also important. Many offenders have been hit with an on-the-spot fine of €150 and it is easy to report a case of dumping, call 021 4532722 with details and ensure these ‘litter louts’ are caught and punished.