6 May 2022
By Bryan Smyth
The National Spring Clean is Ireland’s official anti-litter campaign and over the past 23 years, the initiative has been highlighted the collective responsibility we share in tackling and preventing our national litter problem.
National Spring Clean is operated by the Environmental Education Unit of An Taisce in partnership with Local Authorities and supported by the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment & Mars Wrigley Ireland.
This year, the campaign returned to it’s usual month long clean up after 2 years of restricted clean-ups due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Almost 500 groups from Cork registered to carry out clean-ups throughout the country, an increase on the number of registered groups this time last year making #SpringClean22 Ireland’s largest anti-litter campaign to date.
More than 15,000 Cork volunteers have participated in organised clean-ups throughout the county.
Nationwide, volunteers collected an estimated 2,800 tonnes of litter. Furthermore, National Spring Clean has been a starting point for a large number of groups to organise regular clean-up events all year long!
National Spring Clean 2022 has been an amazing opportunity for communities to come together and do their bit for their local environment, contribute to creating a more sustainable community, be with like-minded people and make a difference.
This year the theme of community pride was at the forefront of the campaign with The National Spring Clean urging people of all ages to gather friends, family, classmates, neighbors or colleagues to unite in cleaning their shared green spaces together.
Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications, Eamon Ryan TD, said of the initiative:
“The statistics for what the National Spring Clean achieves every year are staggering and are a real testament to the energy, drive and community commitment of volunteers up and down the country, who come out and work hard together to protect, enhance and clear up our local environments. It’s unpaid, largely unsung and often unseen work that improves the quality of life for all of us. I would like to salute your work and express my gratitude for the hours of selfless volunteer work that help make National Spring Clean such a critical part of the annual environmental calendar here.
“I would also like to acknowledge the key role played by An Taisce in overseeing the campaign. My Department will continue to provide support to the campaign and I look forward to the many events that will be held countrywide.”
National Spring Clean, Chairperson, Michael John O’Mahony, added:
“The work and efforts of volunteers, groups and Local Authorities all over the country for National Spring Clean in 2022 has been truly amazing. A big thank you to everyone who made it such a success; in fact the most successful National Spring since the first National Spring Clean in 1999! Go raibh mile maith agaibh go leir “
Mars Wrigley Ireland Corporate Affairs Manager, Nicola Forde stated:
“It’s been fantastic to see people, businesses and community groups across Ireland get behind the National Spring Clean again this year. Our own team rolled up their sleeves and hosted a spring clean event in Dublin earlier this month which was a huge success. We continue to champion programmes like the National Spring Clean that support a cleaner, greener environment.”
Even though April is coming to an end, there are plenty of campaigns and activities that The National Spring Clean run and endorse that you can get involved in.
A few of these include:
• When you are out for a walk, visiting a park or a beach, do a quick #2minutestreetclean or a #2minutebeachclean
• Avoid single-use plastic when possible, by choosing more sustainable alternatives, such as reusable bottles and coffee cups, cotton bags, metal straws, etc…
• Don’t litter and if a bin is overflowing, keep your waste until you find a waste to dispose of it properly
• If you can’t reduce or reuse, recycle; know where and how to recycle all types of waste.
• Recent statistics show that, in Ireland, discarded cigarette butts make up for 60% of litter on the streets. Always bin your butt!
• Make sure to bin your chewing gum when you’re done to avoid a €150 gum littering fine and keep our streets clean!