An Taisce Spring Clean in April

RITE photo courtesy of Margaret Dunne.

By Geneva Pattison

For the month of April, The National Spring Clean Initiative will take place throughout Ireland. The programme was established in 1999 by An Taisce, which formed a partnership with the Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government along with the Local Authorities.

It has flourished over the years, growing from 155,000 people taking part in 1999 to a sizable 500,000 people joining the clean-up in 2017.   

As stated on their website, the programme’s intentions are as follows: 

“Encourage clean-ups throu-ghout the month of April, galvanise the practices of recycling and re-use where possible, increase the number of events and participants, promote personal responsibility for litter, heighten awareness of litter and waste issues”.

Statistics from the National Spring Clean website also highlight the amount of rubbish cleaned up by the public in 2017. They calculated that roughly “2,660 tonnes of litter was collected, of which 35% was recycled”. An Taisce also states that the recycling figures are significantly positive, considering it was only feasible to recycle bottles and cans. Clean-up groups are provided with relevant recycling bags to dispose of different materials in an efficient way. 

The clean-up programme asks people to read the relevant health and safety information provided on the website before undertaking any cleaning and also prior to selecting a site for a clean-up. Public participants are provided with a protective smock for their clothes, plastic bags and gloves free of charge when they register with their local authorities and with the NSC.

Local authorities may be able to provide you with extra equipment if you request it beforehand. Once organisers have registered, they will also be covered under An Taisce’s Public Liability Insurance policy in case an accident or public damage occurs. 

The RITE Stuff

Margaret Dunne, chairperson of the Ringsend, Irishtown, Tidy Towns and Environment (RITE) committee got in touch with NewsFour, regarding the ongoing clean-ups in the area and the prevalent problem of dog fouling.

The members of RITE have also recently taken on a novel way of highlighting the extent of the issue, by drawing chalk circles around every piece of animal dirt that is not disposed of properly. 

“We need the community as a whole to come together with us to clean up and especially regarding the dog poo all around the place! We need people to come on board and give us a helping hand and if they have some ideas, this would also be a great help to us.

“Dog fouling isn’t just an eyesore, it is especially dangerous for young children and people with health issues. Roundworms can exist in the faeces and easily transfer to humans, causing a toxocara infection. Similarly, cryptosporidiosis and salmonella can all be picked up through contact with dog mess.

“We have to keep the Tidy Towns alive and fresh in people’s minds”.

For Margaret and the other members of the RITE group, this is an ever-present hazard of the job. By making the effort to pick up after your dogs, you’ll be making the area cleaner and safer. You’ll also be giving the hard-working volunteers in RITE a little helping hand. We may be surrounded by dog dirt but remember, it’s not always a dog eat dog world. 

RITE will be venturing out to take part in the National Spring Clean on Saturday the 27th of April as part of a citywide Dublin clean-up and will continue with their weekly local clean -ups on Saturdays. Be sure to join in and help make the community a more enjoyable space for all. 

To read more about the National Spring Clean visit

R.I.T.E can be found on FB