3,400 Volunteers Take Part In Annual County Clean Up

Bags of picked rubbish mounting up at the collection point in Castleisland early in the 2019 County Clean-Up Day. ©Photograph: John Reidy 13-4-2019

The Cathaoirleach of Kerry County Council, Cllr Patrick Connor Scarteen has thanked the 3,400 registered volunteers who took part in the annual County Clean Up over the past week.

This year’s event took place across a full week rather than the traditional one-day initiative to ensure that public health restrictions and guidelines could be observed and that no large gatherings of volunteers took place.

Thousands of Tons of Litter

Participants were asked to collect litter alone or in family groups and to ensure they sanitised their hands before and after the event.

In recent years, the County Clean-Up has gathered thousands of tons of litter with thousands of volunteers tidying and picking litter in their localities.

This year, families, individuals and Tidy Towns groups took part in the clean-up over the course of last week, while observing all of the public health advice and avoiding large congregations.

A Different County Clean-Up

“It was a very different County Clean-Up this year, but the same dedication and commitment of volunteers was as evident as every other year.

“It was heartening to see so many people out and about in their high-vis vests with bags and litter pickers, ensuring that the county was made free of litter,” said Cllr Connor Scarteen.

“The pandemic and the various restrictions have caused us all to appreciate our surroundings and our environment and I have noticed an increase in the number of people collecting litter in their areas at all times during the pandemic.

Kerry First to Engage in 2012

“I would like to pay tribute to KWD Recycling for providing the packs to volunteers and ensuring that everyone was equipped to participate over the past week,” he said.

The Kerry County Clean Up was the first all-county clean up to take place in Ireland in 2012.

“Since its inception, KWD has distributed 30,000 high-vis vests and collected almost 60,000 bags of litter from Kerry roadsides.

Over the years, the number of volunteers taking part has multiplied more than tenfold from 500 volunteers in 2012 to over 6,000 volunteers in 2019.

A Spanner in the Works

While the ongoing pandemic restrictions threw a spanner in the works in the availability of the aforementioned hi-vis vests, litter pickers and bags in the Castleisland area this year, there was still a fair level of activity in the area.

There is also an increasing level of ongoing, local activity with people taking care of streets and roads in their areas. Maryanne and Eamon Breen and Andrew Kelliher and just some of those most mentioned by Tidy Towns committee members.  

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