The National Spring Clean is Ireland’s official anti-litter campaign and over the past 24 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 and Mars Wrigley Ireland.
Throughout the month of April, the National Spring Clean encouraged communities from across Ireland to tackle the problem of litter in local areas and to see the benefits of a litter-free environment.
This year almost 200 Clare groups registered to carry out clean-ups throughout the county making Spring Clean 23 one of Ireland’s largest anti-litter campaign to date.
Over 6,000 volunteers joined Spring Clean 23 in County Clare removing an estimated 34 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!
Among groups who joined the National Spring Clean this year, volunteers at the Clonlara Development Association had plenty of new faces mixed in with the regular troops for their National Spring Clean event. All participants collected over 80 bags of rubbish on the day and are planning to host more clean-ups in the coming months.
Moreover, students, teachers and parents at Kilnamona National School put on their hats, gloves and high vis vests on to get out and host two clean-up events in their school grounds and surrounding areas as part of National Spring Clean at the start of April.
Finally, Tulla Scouts and Tulla Tidy Towns took to the streets to do a thorough clean-up of the Town Roads for the 2023 National Spring Clean on March 31st, to celebrate with us the launch of the campaign.
National Spring Clean 2023 has been an amazing opportunity for communities in Clare and nationwide 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 aim for National Spring Clean was also to raised awareness about how the adoption of a circular economy model, will reduce our litter, and climate impact, meaning that as we transition to a more circular economy, we’ll see less waste, less litter, and lower emissions, and thus, cleaner planet.
The principles of a circular economy have always been central to the ethos of National Spring Clean for the past 24 years. This year, some 35% of all waste collected was recycled, thanks to recyclable waste bags provided to groups and individuals who register, while the removal of litter from our natural environment has helped tackle biodiversity loss.
Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications, Eamon Ryan TD, said of the initiative: “An Taisce’s National Spring Clean continues to showcase the dedication of volunteers all over the country. The commitment of volunteers in continuing to organise local clean-ups each year is a testament to the spirit in Irish communities and I would urge as many people as possible to get involved in the campaign. My Department will continue to support the campaign and An Taisce, whose role in organising this successful campaign each year, deserves to be acknowledged. I look forward to the many events that will be held all over the country in the coming months.”
National Spring Clean, manager, Emlyn Cullen, added: “This was one of our biggest years ever with regards people taking part. We can’t thank the volunteers enough for giving up their time and energy to make Ireland a cleaner, greener country this April. Huge credit also goes to the Local Authorities who work hard during the month to collect the full bags after events. Also I’d like to thank our funders, the Dept. of Environment, Climate and Communications and sponsors, Mars Wrigley Ireland.”
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!