Life in lockdown has witnessed the emergence of many true heroes and after the past number of weeks and their herculean efforts, you can add the countywide army of ‘Longford’s Green Keep It Clean’ community volunteers to that pantheon of heroes.
A massive increase in incidences of illegal dumping across our villages, towns and countryside has unfortunately become a negative feature of the Covid-19 pandemic, but thankfully Longford’s civic pride is shining through and the county’s volunteers of all ages have united and rolled up their sleeves to rally against the shameful litter louts.
The past thirteen months have been draining for everyone, however, it’s hugely encouraging that in the face of adversity, local people have dug deep and responded so positively to the ‘Longford’s Green Keep It Clean’ campaign, illustrating the immense community spirit that exists within their communities.
Our front page collage of photographs, featuring tidy towns, community groups and individuals from Abbeylara, Ballymahon, Drumlish, Edgeworthstown, Granard, Killoe, Longford, Newtowncashel and Newtownforbes is just a sample of the wonderful work that has been embarked upon and credit to everyone involved.
Tonnes upon tonnes of rubbish have been gathered by individuals and families, cleaning up the roadsides, climbing into ditches and dredging waterways, all while adhering to the public health restrictions and staying within the five kilometres surrounding their homes.
The selfless and tireless acts of volunteers that don their high-vis jackets and go above and beyond for the betterment of their local community deserve our fulsome thanks and praise for dealing with the most unsavoury of dumped items and making our communities a far better place in which to live.
It is also little surprise that Longford County Council’s Environmental Awareness Officer Gary Brady has been bowled over by the marvellous response to the initiative.
“There has been a real sense of community spirit shown by all the groups and individuals who have taken part,” he said.
“It’s very heartening to see individuals and families out in their pods cleaning up the roads within a 5k radius of their homes.
“And hopefully this will discourage those people who drop litter from doing so in future.”
Declan Rowley is Chairperson of the Killoe Development Group and he, too, has been highly impressed by the commitment and dedication of volunteers.
He outlined, “The effort here started off with the committee of ten people with their bags and their pickers but it wasn’t long before the cavalry arrived as all town lands in the parish were represented in the quest to clean up all the roads in the community.”
In a few short days the young and not so young of the parish combined to clean up every road from Cairn Hill to Carryglass and from Dooroc to Newtonbond taking with them litter which included paper cups, bottles, cardboard boxes, tyres and even in one case, a TV.
Mr Rowley revealed that 150 bags of rubbish was gathered.
“It was very apparent that two areas dominated the areas of high density of litter. The roads which were closer to Longford town had a high density of litter, much of which related to takeaway food litter and drink.
“While the quieter roads of the parish, which would have smaller amounts of traffic had bags of rubbish dumped on them. In all there were over 150 bags of rubbish gathered over the few days.”
He made a point of thanking Gary Brady for his assistance and he also thanked the many individuals and families who turned out all over the parish to help with the clean up.
Mr Rowley is also looking to the future. “It’s hoped now that residents will help in all areas to maintain the quality of the roadsides by carrying out weekly litter picks.”
In the week that the much heralded Royal Canal Greenway and Our Rural Future Plan were officially launched, it is important that we don’t forget and shine a light on the volunteers that are committed to simply making their communities better places in which to live.
Well done everyone!
If any individuals or households would like to take part in the ‘Longford’s Green Keep It Clean’ initiative, they’re invited to contact their local Tidy Towns group.
Any questions or queries can be referred to Gary Brady Environmental Awareness Officer on 043 33 43451 or via email to firstname.lastname@example.org