2023 Pure Mile AWARDS night

The Pure Mile Awards was back again this year in the Brooklodge Hotel in Macreddin, Aughrim, on Thursday 26th of October to celebrate the hard work and achievements of all the Pure Mile Volunteers in Cleaning Up The Wicklow/Dublin Uplands.

The Pure Mile Awards was back again this year in the Brooklodge Hotel in Macreddin, Aughrim, on Thursday 26th of October to celebrate the hard work and achievements of all the Pure Mile Volunteers in Cleaning Up The Wicklow/Dublin Uplands.

The PURE Mile Awards Night at the BrookLodge, Macreddin

The Pure Mile Awards is an environmental, community, heritage initiative, established by Pure, which encourages communities and groups living in rural areas of Wicklow, South Dublin and Dun-Laoghaire, to adopt a mile of road, or miles of road, in their local area, or in the Wicklow/Dublin Uplands and organise litter picks, clean-ups, anti-dumping campaigns, research information about their local wildflowers, plants, trees, animals, and the built, cultural, and social heritage of an area. The awards night is an opportunity for all of the Pure Mile Groups to meet for one night, in one room, and celebrate all of their hard work and achievements in Cleaning Up The Wicklow/Dublin Uplands, and for Pure to thank them all. .

Certificates of Participation were presented to all Pure Mile Groups on the night by the Cathaoirleach of Wicklow County Council, Cllr. Aoife Flynn Kennedy, the Mayor of South Dublin, Cllr. Alan Edge, and the Cathaoirleach of Dun-Laoghaire Rathdown County Council, Cllr. Denis O’Callaghan.

On the night, the Mayor of South Dublin, Cllr. Alan Edge, added, ‘I can’t overstate the importance of the Pure Mile in South Dublin. The trojan work that Pure and its army of volunteers do in keeping our uplands clean represents the best in local environmental action and community engagement at its finest.’ 

2023 was the fourteenth year of the Pure Mile, with the largest number of groups and volunteers involved in the project since it was established in 2009.  In the first year the Pure Mile had 5 miles of road (8.5 kilometres), and over the years the project has grown extensively to involve communities, groups, individuals, scouts, beavers, schools, walking groups, cycling groups, running groups, hiking groups, businesses and organisations, who have collectively improved and enhanced over 900 miles (1,450 kilometres), of road, mountains, woodlands, valleys, forestries, upland amenities, car parks, and even some coastal areas, with the removal of tonnes of illegal dumping and litter from the Wicklow/Dublin Uplands.  Over 2,600 litter picks and clean-ups were organised in 2023 and additional projects included, natural heritage, built heritage, community, biodiversity, and education.

The groups ranged from all over Wicklow, South Dublin and Dun-Laoghaire and each one received a Pure Mile Certificate of Participation, native Irish trees, and all will be included in the popular Pure Mile Calendar, which will also be launched this year.  There were a number of Certificates of Recognition presented on the night with cash prizes reaching over €6,000 distributed to groups which will further assist them in their local projects to improve and enhance the Wicklow/Dublin Uplands.

The Cathaoirleach for Dun-Laoghaire Rathdown County Council, Cllr. Denis O’Callaghan commented, ‘Pure is a wonderful example of a collaboration across several state bodies and one that Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council is proud to part of. Working with our partners in Department of Environment, Climate, and Communications, Wicklow County Council, South Dublin County Council, Coillte, National Parks & Wildlife Service, and the Wicklow Uplands Council has had great benefits. Moreover, the work by our communities is a critical part of Pure and its success is a testament to the work done by each community involved’.

The Pure Mile is the perfect opportunity for communities and groups who want to make a positive contribution to their locality and environment, and assists people in improving and enhancing the place they live in, or recreate in.  Special interest groups such as, walking groups, cycling groups, scout groups, businesses, and organisations, adopt a mile, or miles of road, in the Wicklow/Dublin Uplands and help Pure to Clean Up The Uplands.  Pure provide all groups with Pure Mile signage, Pure Mile high-vis vests, Pure Mile bags, gloves, and litter pickers and Pure also removes all of the rubbish collected by the groups.

Ian Davis, Pure Manager commented on the success and growth of the Pure Mile,

‘The Pure Mile has grown every year and we now have thousands of volunteers involved. This year we saw some large-scale clean-ups and litter picks which resulted in the removal of approximately 4,700 bags of rubbish and illegal dumping from the Wicklow/Dublin Uplands. Over the years the Pure Mile Volunteers have removed tonnes of litter and illegal dumping from upland roads, verges, hedges, and drains, and they have made a huge difference to the areas they live in, or recreate in. We estimate that Pure Mile Groups removed over 47 tonnes of illegal dumping, including, tyres, batteries, mattresses, radios, hovers, TV’s, cables, piping, furniture, chairs, bedframes, building materials, toys, prams, suitcases, buckets, bikes, and much more. I would like to thank and congratulate all of the Pure Mile Groups this year for their dedication in Cleaning Up The Wicklow/Dublin Uplands.’

Pure was launched in 2006 and since that date it has proven extremely successful, in both reducing illegal dumping, and engaging with all demographics in society.  It’s the first project of its kind in Ireland involving a multi stakeholder approach collaboration with, the Department of Environment, Climate and Communications, Wicklow County Council, South Dublin County Council, Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council, Coillte, National Parks & Wildlife Service, and the Wicklow Uplands Council.

Pure has made huge progress in reducing illegal dumping in the Wicklow/Dublin Uplands.  If you compare the amount of dumping collected by Pure in 2022, which was 140 tonnes of waste, to 2008 which was their busiest year, when they removed 440 tonnes, the initiative has seen a 68% reduction in illegal dumping in Wicklow/Dublin Uplands. 

The Pure Truck is on the road every day, and since Pure was established in 2006, it has removed over 3,800,000kg (3,800 tonnes) of rubbish from over 14,000 illegal dumping sites in the Wicklow/Dublin Uplands with the project processing over 15,000 reports/complaints.  If you were to put all the rubbish that Pure has removed from the uplands into standard household rubbish bags, they would fill over 400,000 bags.   If you lined up all these bags on the road, they would stretch all the way from Dublin to Dingle. 

Illegal dumping is not unique to the Wicklow/Dublin uplands, however, while most regions in Ireland are currently reporting an increase in illegal dumping, the Pure Project is seeing a decrease.  The environmental project has been recording and mapping every location and incident of illegal dumping in the Wicklow/Dublin Uplands since 2007 and have built up a base-line-data of all illegal dumping activity in this region, the location of dumping, type of dumping, landowner, and amount of dumping, and for a number of years now they have been recording an annual reduction. The data that Pure collect is valuable information providing indicators into the nature and extent of illegal dumping in Wicklow/Dublin Uplands, and statistical evidence for all illegal dumping incidents in this region.

Pure utilises a multi-disciplined approach in combating illegal dumping, incorporating a number of educational initiatives and environment/community projects – The Pure Mile, public awareness campaigns, regional/national media campaigns, enforcement and preventative measures, GPS/GIS data-base to record all illegal dumping sites, covert CCTV operations, and a dedicated vehicle – The Pure Truck, that removes all illegal dumping from the Wicklow/Dublin Uplands.

The Pure Partnership approach, incorporating statutory, non-statutory organisations, and members of the public, has proven extremely successful in combating illegal dumping in the Wicklow/Dublin Uplands and over the past four years they have recorded an annual reduction in illegal dumping activity.  This reduction in dumping coincides with the huge increase of Pure Mile groups and areas, with hundreds of miles of roads, mountains, woodlands, valleys, forestries, upland amenities, car parks, and beaches, currently being adopted.

If any groups, communities, individuals, schools, walking groups, cycling groups, scouts, businesses, anyone, want to get involved in Pure Mile, they can contact Pure at info@pureproject.ie or download an application from www.pureproject.ie/what-we-do/the-pure-mile/.  You can also write to; Pure Project, Unit 6 B, Riverside Business Centre, Tinahely, Co Wicklow, Y14 R978, and they will post out all the information, or request an application form and information pack by phoning Pure on 0402 28662.

Further information on Pure can be found on www.pureproject.ie

TO REPORT DUMPERS AND DUMPING IN THE WICKLOW/DUBLIN UPLANDS
LO-CALL 1800 365 123

Further information: Ian Davis

0402 28662– 087 2518064

info@pureproject.ie

www.pureproject.ie

Notes to Editor:

Background to the establishment of the Pure Project:

Pure is a partnership project and the first of its kind in Ireland which incorporates statutory and non-statutory organisations, including; Wicklow County Council, South Dublin County Council, Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council, Coillte, National Parks & Wildlife Service, and the Wicklow Uplands CouncilFunded by The Department of Environment, Climate, and Communications, Pure is the first regional partnership initiative established in Ireland to combat fly-tipping/illegal dumping and was officially launched in September 2006.

The concept of the Pure project developed after a number of forums between the above organisations were held over a one-year period, between 2005 and 2006, with the objective of finding a solution to the increase of fly-tipping and small-scale illegal dumping activity in the Wicklow/Dublin upland regions, as each of the organisation were affected by the problem.

The project is funded directly by The Department of Environment, Climate, and Communications, and is the first statutory and non-statutory regional partnership initiative established in Ireland to deal with incidents of fly-tipping/illegal dumping.

The Pure project focuses directly on the fly-tipping/illegal dumping issue and has introduced a number of enforcement, preventative, and educational initiatives including:

  • A phone-line for reporting of fly-tipping/illegal dumping – 1800 365 123
  • Dedicated clean-up vehicle which responds to all incidents of fly-tipping/illegal dumping
  • GPS/GIS data-base to record all incidents of fly-tipping/illegal dumping
  • Covert CCTV monitoring of affected sites
  • Pure Promotional/informational material
  • Public awareness campaigns
  • Website – www.pureproject.ie
  • Social Media
  • Education programmes – Primary school teacher’s pack – Pure Animation, Pure Music, Pure Theatre, etc.
  • Community initiatives – The Pure Mile
  • Suitable preventative measures
  • Media campaign

STATS:

  • Over 3,800 tonnes of illegal dumping removed from the Wicklow/Dublin Uplands
  • Over 15,000 reports of illegal dumping received by Pure
  • Over 14,000 Pure Truck Collections