Volunteers (from left) Carmel Duffy, Frances Fitzgerald-Smith, Lorraine Shiels and Eileen Murphy with just some of the litter picked up around Walterstown a few years ago. Now plans for another big clean up are underway.

Walterstown community to once more wage war on litter

Members of the community in Walterstown are to once more go to war on litter.

Leading local activist Carmel Duffy has once more made a call to arms and asked people in the area to participate in another big clean up.

She has requested people to gather at the carpark opposite Walterstown Church on Saturday, 17th February, 10am.

The plan is that from there the volunteers will spread out into surrounding roads and start picking up whatever rubbish they may find - and there is a lot of it about carelessly strewn in the ditches and the grass margins.

Three years ago when another big clean-up took place volunteers - who turned out in force in wintry conditions - picked up a huge amount of rubbish in black plastic bags.

And what they encountered as they went about the task was at times remarkable, ranging from the ubiquitous plastic bottles to dirty nappies to a typewriter.

"I simply can't believe all the coffee cups and plastic bottles that are simply thrown into ditches and along road margins," explained Carmel at the time.

"We have found pieces of furniture thrown out, a typewriter even, it's unbelievable what you would find on the side of the road.

"One that got me was a big cardboard box full of food from a restaurant, all pre-packed, with the plastic covers over it, a huge amount of it in a big box. It's just disgusting what's on the roads, the amounts of tyres and hubcaps is unbelievable. It beggers belief how bad it is."

The huge amount of rubbish collected in 2021 and the litter that is now back in the ditches in the area underlines the very formidable problem many communities face in trying to keep their areas clean.

Back then Carmel Duffy suggested an answer to the problem could be found by placing a levy on plastic bottles and cans and people getting a monetary reward for what they brought back.

Since then, of course, the Irish Government has introduced national Deposit Return Scheme (DRS).

It is estimated that about 1.9 billion drinks bottles and cans are consumed each year in Ireland, in-house and 'on the go'.

The Deposit Return Scheme aims to boost the recycling rate for these drinks containers by charging a small, refundable deposit for each plastic bottle or can. The Scheme will include PET plastic bottles and aluminium and steel cans between 150ml and 3 litres. A deposit of 15c will apply to containers 500mls or less and a deposit of 25c for each container above 500ml.

That might make a difference but in the meantime the people of Walterstown, inspired by the leadership provided by Carmel Duffy, are looking to do what they can to make their area a rubbish-free zone.