Get on your gloves!

Don’t you just love the sunshine? Everyone comes out to bask in the little heat we get. You hear more kids playing, see more people out walking, and spend more time out in the garden.

We don’t get many nice weeks, so it’s only fair that we all take advantage of the sunshine.

But with more people out and about enjoying the nice weather comes a problem. You tend to notice all the rubbish on the ground of your usual walk route. Drinks bottles thrown in hedges, fast food wrapping on the side of the road, rusty trolleys in the canal; it’s not a pretty sight. And it’s kind of embarrassing when you see the look of disgust on the faces of visitors.

April is national spring clean month. The National Spring Clean is the country’s largest anti-litter initiative. Already hundreds of people across the county have signed up to take part in the clean, but more people are needed. As part of the initiative, groups who volunteer to take part in the clean-up will be provided with free clean-up kits which contain information, posters, colour-coded refuse sacks for segregation of waste materials, protective gloves, and tabards to keep participants clean. 

So all you have to do is get out there and clean up an area in your community. An Taisce is providing all this and will also liaise with Westmeath County Council to ensure that all waste collected will be picked up without charge.

I know it’s hard enough to keep your own home tidy, and you’re probably wondering why it’s you that has to clean up other people’s mess, but the chances are that the people who threw the fast food wrappers into the daffodils aren’t very reflective and don’t have any pride in their community.

The National Spring Clean campaign is organised by An Taisce and funded by the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government. In 2008, more than 450,000 people volunteered to join with other members of their community to organise clean-ups around the country where an estimated 1,596 tonnes of litter was collected and 35 per cent of that waste was recycled. 

By getting a group of volunteers together and cleaning up your community, you’re going a long way towards making the county an attractive destination for tourists, which in turn creates jobs and brings money back into the area.

We can’t be complacent any more when it comes to generating money within our communities. If we don’t have pride in the area we live in, how else can we expect to generate tourism this summer?

And who knows, it might just be a nice summer!

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