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February 26, 2009

Minister Gormley calls for Kildare volunteers to clean up communities

Incidence of litter proven to affect quality of life

National Spring Clean: Working Together – For our community

John Gormley, TD, Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government and An Taisce are today calling for volunteers from Kildare County to sign up for the 2009 National Spring Clean campaign, Ireland’s largest anti-litter initiative.

Speaking today, Minister Gormley said: “April is a very important month in Ireland’s community and environmental calendar as the National Spring Clean campaign is rolled out around the country. It encourages people to work together to create a cleaner environment and plays a vital role in improving quality of life by empowering people to take responsibility for, and have pride in, their local areas. The initiative is totally reliant on people’s willingness to give their time and energy to help to make a difference in their community”.

The National Spring Clean campaign is organised by An Taisce and funded by the Minister’s Department. In 2008, more than 450,000 people volunteered to join with other members of their community to organise clean-ups around the country where an estimated 1,596 tonnes of litter was collected and 35% of that waste was recycled. 

Patricia Oliver, National Spring Clean Chairperson said: “The National Spring Clean campaign is all about communities getting together to do something positive for their local area. Recent research carried out in the UK by ENCAMS** shows that litter in the local environment, or the lack thereof, contributes directly towards how people feel about their quality of life. Heavily littered areas can be synonymous with anti-social behaviour whereas people who judge their neighbourhoods to be largely litter free say it has a directly positive effect on their quality of life.”

The National Spring Clean campaign is sponsored by Coca-Cola Bottlers Ireland and the Wrigley Company. It is also supported by Repak who supply colour coded refuse sacks for recycling the materials collected and Killeen who sponsor the general waste sacks.  The campaign is backed by all Local Authorities who co-ordinate activity in their communities.

The objectives of the National Spring Clean Campaign are to:

  • Promote personal responsibility for litter
  • Improve quality of life in local communities
  • Heighten awareness of litter and waste issues
  • Highlight the importance of recycling and reuse
  • Enhance our countryside to help stimulate tourism
  • Increase participation rates in the campaign year on year

All those registering for the National Spring Clean campaign are issued with a FREE clean up kit which contains information, posters, colour coded refuse sacks for segregation of waste materials, protective gloves and tabards to keep participants clean.  An Taisce will also liaise with local authorities to ensure that all materials collected will be picked up without charge. 

To register for National Spring Clean call 01 4002220 or log on to the website at

**Note: The full research report entitled “Measuring Quality of Life: Does Local Environmental Quality Matter?” is available to download or order from (at