County Monaghan Groups Wage War on Litter
The national Tidy Towns competition adjudication kicked off on June 11th and Monaghan people are being urged to bin or bring their litter home during this period. Tidy towns committees all over the county have been working tirelessly throughout the year to ensure that our towns not only look well but also to ensure reduction and prevention of waste and litter in the first place. Transition Monaghan member Dearbhla Lenehan takes a look at the Tidy Towns competition and the important work on litter and other environmental challenges being undertaken by Tidy Towns Groups in the county.
Pictured at Castleblayney bypass earlier this year to promote Spring Clean 2016 were (from left): Nial O’Connor, Monaghan County Council, Sarah McGovern, An Taisce Spring Clean Ambassador, Pat Merrick, Castleblayney Tidy Towns and Noel Keelan, Chairperson, Monaghan County Council.
The Tidy Towns (TT) competition is an annual competition organised by the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government. Participating areas are judged on all aspects of their local environment and their progress is monitored and detailed feedback is provided year on year. This gives participants an idea of areas that need improvement for the following year. This competition helps to generate environmental interest in our communities and also allows us to raise issues to relevant authorities.
Unfortunately, Monaghan suffers greatly with a litter problem and TT volunteers work tirelessly throughout the year picking up (literally) after litter culprits. At a SWARM (Sustainable Waste and Resource Management) conference in April some members vented their frustration that after all their hard work; conducting litter pick-ups, running anti-litter campaigns and using anti-litter billboard posters that there is still no reduction in plastic bottles, crisp packets and coffee cups thrown out car windows and left on our roadsides.
In one litter picking operation organised by Monaghan County Council and undertaken by volunteers last year, three tonnes of waste were collected on the Castleblayney bypass. That’s the equivalent of three years of household waste! Monaghan County Council installed CCTV along the N2 to tackle the litter problem, but unfortunately, the problem is still evident on this stretch of road.
JUNIOR TIDY TOWNS CAMPAIGN
TT volunteers are a vital part of our community. Monaghan, like many other counties in Ireland has a serious litter problem, but without the hard work from TT volunteers our scenic views would be extremely unsightly. The best way to tackle the litter problem is to prevent it and TT groups across Monaghan run several anti-litter campaigns. For example; Monaghan TT launched a successful Junior Tidy Towns campaign in 2011 which still continues today. Group members range from ages 4-17 and as well as being involved in litter pick-ups, they plant flowers, paint fences, set up hedgehog houses and take part in wildlife and biodiversity workshops. There are Junior TT groups in various estates around Monaghan town including; Cluain Lorcain, The Pound Hill/Killygoan, Coolshannagh View and Mullaghmatt/Cortolvin. If you would like to get involved please see jttmonaghan.com for more information.
THINKING GLOBALLY, ACTING LOCALLY
Not only do TT focus on cleaning up and brightening up our towns and villages, they also undertake waste reduction/prevention, biodiversity, energy saving and climate change projects to name a few. A bumble bee and butterfly workshop was organised recently by the Monaghan Tidy Towns Network in association with Monaghan County Council. TT Groups are also being encouraged to compete for the Tidy Towns Pollinator Award. This involves a TT Group undertaking pollinator friendly actions such as growing a wildflower meadow for bees and butterflies and avoiding the use of chemical weed killer. This is to help stem the decline of pollinating insects which are important for biodiversity and the yields of certain farm crops. Yet another TT activity is the eco summer camp like the upcoming one in Castleblayney. See Noticeboard below. Such actions help environmental sustainability and enhance a well- kept town or and village.
EXAMPLE OF GLASLOUGH TIDY TOWNS
TT groups across the county hold a great record when it comes to the Tidy Towns Competition and most recently, in 2015 Glaslough TT won the National award for waste prevention. Glaslough TT has many on-going projects including the building of a polytunnel, which is managed by their volunteers and school children. The tunnel is self-sufficient as they save flowering bulbs for following years, plant comfrey plants to produce plant feed and have four composting sites in the village. They have installed water-harvesting systems and they use this to water village’s beautiful flowers (which are also grown in the polytunnel). Glaslough TT has encouraged businesses in the area to become greener by changing to energy efficient bulbs and being mindful of their electric and water usage and sourcing food locally. All of their success comes from the hard work and dedication of their members and people in the community doing their bit to get involved.
CHECK OUT YOUR LOCAL TT GROUP
There are TT committees in nearly every village and town in Monaghan. Their volunteers work tirelessly throughout the year to help make our communities a nicer, more scenic place to live. With the continued support from Monaghan County Council, local businesses and schools their great work will continue. This can only continue if EVERYBODY gets involved and supports the initiatives they organise.
More details on Tidy Towns Groups in Co Monaghan are at http://www.tidytownsnetworkmonaghan.wordpress.com
Events on in July can be found by clicking here
August events can be found here