The Cathaoirleach of Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council, Councillor Mary Hanafin celebrates the launch of the National Gum Litter Taskforce Campaign in Dún Laoghaire with Dún Laoghaire Tidy Towns and Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council Environmental Enforcement Officers.
Ireland has achieved a 70% reduction in chewing gum litter since 2007, according to the Gum Litter Taskforce (GLT), the National Awareness Campaign to make gum litter an issue of the past. The study from GLT, also shows that gum litter now accounts for only 8% of all litter compared with 2007, when the campaign was launched.
As part of the Gum Litter Taskforce the ‘Bin It!’ education programme will travel across the country and deliver 60 performances a year to primary schools nationwide, with the ambition to visit 180 schools by 2025. The ‘Bin It!’ school roadshow encourages students to responsibly dispose of litter, and particularly gum litter, through actor-led workshops. The latest cycle of the campaign will see the programme shift its focus from secondary school students to students in fifth and sixth class, and a return to in-person workshops, and kicks off in September.
The programme will also see the GLT continue to work with local authorities across the country to promote greater gum litter awareness and education programmes in their areas, through the GLT annual roadshow. To date the campaign has engaged with over 30 local authorities across the country, hosting awareness initiatives and localised launch events and providing materials to promote community-led action on gum litter. The roadshow will start in Dublin, before travelling nationwide between the months of June, July and August to promote responsible gum disposal with the help of local authorities.
Dún Laoghaire Tidy Towns are a vibrant and dedicated community group committed to environmental improvement with Dún Laoghaire. Dún Laoghaire Tidy Towns with the help of their volunteers work hard to ensure that Dún Laoghaire remains litter free and an area that everyone enjoys.
Speaking at the launch, Brian Flynn, Chairperson of Dún Laoghaire Tidy Towns said, “Dún Laoghaire Tidy Towns group is delighted to participate in this Gum Litter Taskforce Roadshow event and welcomes the active support of our new Cathaoirleach and all dlr councillors in any activities that promote the values and work of Tidy Towns. Our Tidy Towns group reformed in early 2020 and we believe we have achieved great progress in two and a half years. We carry out cleaning and weeding around the town centre and seafront with our small army of orange vested volunteers.”
“Chewing gum is a particularly difficult kind of litter. It is impossible to remove it without special equipment such as power washing and it disfigures many of our pavements. Adequate bins have been provided around the town and they are emptied twice daily by the Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council cleansing department who also litter pick our streets twice daily. Yet we often witness significant amounts of litter strewn around our town.We need a change of attitude in Ireland to litter particularly in our large towns and cities. We call this “pride in our place”. We have a wonderful town and seascape, the jewel of the East coast. Let us all make our contribution by using the bins provided.
Gum Litter Taskforce Project Manager, Avril Donlon of Food Drink Ireland, welcomed the return of the campaign, and praised the success of the campaign to date, “we are delighted to continue the great work of the Gum Litter Taskforce alongside the Department of Environment, Climate and Communications. Through continuing to engage with people and educate them on the harms of gum litter, we can work to make gum litter on the streets of Ireland a problem of the past.The focus for the next three-year cycle of the Gum Litter Taskforce campaign is to increase its reach among target audiences and influence future generations through proven successful education campaigns in schools and digital activations.”
Corporate Affairs Manager at Mars Wrigley Ireland, Nicola Forde, also welcomed the announcement, “the success of the campaign to date is a testament to what can be achieved when Government, local communities and industry work together, and I’m very excited that the GLT will continue its great work for another cycle. I’m particularly pleased to see the ‘Bin It’ campaign will reach a higher number of schools than ever this cycle, allowing us to engage with more students across the country. Educational engagement and encouraging positive behaviours from a young age will have long-term positive effects on Ireland’s attitudes towards litter. It’s also great to see continued engagement from local authorities throughout each cycle of the campaign, as it demonstrates the tangible results they’re seeing in the reduction of gum litter in their communities.”
The National Gum Litter Awareness Campaign campaign will see representatives from the Gum Litter Taskforce working with local authorities and communities to carry out education and awareness initiatives that demonstrate the proper means of gum disposal and raise awareness of the environmental and fiscal impacts of improper disposal.