Cathaoirleach of Donegal County Council, Cllr Jack Murray, has officially launched the Gum Litter Taskforce's gum litter education campaign in Buncrana.
The Gum Litter Taskforce (GLT) is an environmental initiative that was set up to develop and implement an awareness campaign to reduce gum litter in the most sustainable way. Supported and funded by the chewing gum industry, the GLT initiative has made very real and significant improvements in relation to gum litter awareness and disposal behaviour over the last 14 years since its inception in 2007. The 2019 campaign maintained an all-time high of 93% of people stating that they regard chewing gum as litter, up from 74% when the campaign first began in 2007, pointing to the attitudinal impact which the campaign has had.
L to R: Finn Mellaley, Deirdre NicLochlainn, Jake the Dog, (Buncrana Tidy Towns), Anthony Moylette (Environmental Awareness Coordinator, Donegal County Council) Cllr Jack Murray (Cathaoirleach of Donegal County Council) Pearse McCrory (Litter Warden, Donegal County Council) and Gerard Porter (Buncrana Tidy Towns).
The campaign is looking to build on the positive momentum of previous years’ campaigns and is making a strong return for 2021 after being postponed last year due to Covid-19. This year’s campaign will be different in that the national and local authority launch events will be done virtually, and the campaign will have a stronger social media presence in order to reach a wider and younger audience.
Research commissioned by the Gum Litter Taskforce during the 2019 campaign highlighted the campaign’s continued positive effect on people’s behaviour towards gum disposal. In 2019, the results showed that 88% of people said that they always dispose of their gum correctly, which was up from 54% when the campaign first began. This shift in public behaviour has been evident throughout the 13 years that the campaign has been running, as the proportion of gum as a percentage of litter has decreased by 64%.
Speaking at the launch, Cathaoirleach of Donegal County Council Cllr Jack Murray said "We can never underestimate the pride that people have in their local towns and villages. As ever, I am confident that the people throughout Donegal will do their town and local community proud by getting behind the Gum Litter Taskforce campaign in an effort to invoke positive change within their local communities.”
Paul Kelly, Chairman of the GLT added; “It is great to see the GLT campaign return and continue its success in changing the public’s behaviour towards gum litter. Since 2007, we have seen a significant decline in the amount of gum litter present throughout the streets, villages and towns of Ireland. Alongside the Green Schools, Tidy Towns and Neat Streets programmes, this campaign aims to play a significant role in the overall reduction of litter and contribute to the betterment of the environment. The relaunch of the GLT campaign in its revised format this year, along with our advertising campaign and Bin It! school education programme, can only be successful through continued support from our schools and local communities.”
Nicola Forde, Corporate Affairs Manager, Mars Wrigley Ireland said; “Mars Wrigley are pleased to support the return of this positive and vibrant awareness campaign in 2021. It is important that we maintain momentum on our journey to achieving a cleaner, greener Ireland through initiatives like the GLT and build on the success that the campaign has achieved since it commenced in 2007.
Covid-19 has brought more people outdoors to gather, socialise and enjoy the beauty of their local area. As a result, both younger and older generations are becoming more aware of the importance of maintaining the surrounding natural environment.
Through the GLT campaign, Mars Wrigley is proud to support the hard work of local authorities, community groups and schools in spreading awareness of the importance of correct litter disposal. It is through education that we can drive change and every little positive effort adds up to make a big long-term difference to the environs of our local towns and communities.”
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