Waterways Ireland is part of a new Government campaign promoting responsible behaviour when enjoying the outdoors and help turn back a recent increase in litter hotspots, particularly in scenic locations.
Love This Place, Leave No Trace is a joint initiative with Leave No Trace Ireland alongside the National Parks and Wildlife Service, Inland Fisheries Ireland, Fáilte Ireland, Coillte and the OPW.
The campaign comes after what’s been described as “a notable increase” in littering throughout the country in recent weeks since the easing of coronavirus-related movement restrictions.
“We need to take action now to halt the scourge of litter in our beautiful countryside,” said Maura Kiely, chief executive of Leave No Trace Ireland.
“Everyone needs to take responsibility. Littering is a threat to our fragile ecosystems and a moment of laziness can have long-term effects.
“An aluminium can takes 400 to 500 years to break down; a plastic bag can take up to 20 years. A discarded plastic bottle, meanwhile, will last for a million years.”
‘As more of us ‘make a break for it in Ireland’ this year, let’s respect the environment which is one of Ireland's greatest assets’
Catherine Martin, Minister for Media, Tourism, Arts, Culture, Sport and the Gaeltacht, welcomed the new campaign.
“We all love to exercise and be active in our scenic outdoor spaces so let’s ensure they remain accessible to all by Leaving No Trace and keeping our natural environment litter-free.
“As more of us ‘make a break for it in Ireland’ this year, let’s respect the environment which is one of Ireland's greatest assets.”
Minister of State for Heritage and Electoral Reform, Malcolm Noonan, added: “Litter, disturbance to vegetation, water pollution, wildlife, livestock and other people are all indicators of the need to develop a national ethic that protects both natural and cultural heritage.
“I would encourage everyone to treat our natural heritage with the respect it deserves and to follow the principles of Leave No Trace.”
Leave No Trace issued its guidelines on how to be responsible in the outdoors earlier this year — and further details, including outdoor skills and tips for planning, are available from Leave No Trace Ireland HERE.