Pure Project Press Release May 2024

Pure remove 4 million kg of litter and rubbish from the Wicklow/Dublin Uplands

The environmental initiative, Pure (Protecting Uplands & Rural Environments), which was established to combat illegal dumping in the Wicklow/Dublin Uplands recently recorded a landmark number with the collection and removal of over 4,000,000kg (4,000 tonnes) of litter and rubbish from the beautiful, scenic, Wicklow/Dublin Uplands, since the project was launched in 2006.

Pure is the first initiative of its kind in Ireland incorporating statutory and non-statutory organisations and stakeholders, including, 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 and was established to combat illegal dumping in the Wicklow/Dublin Uplands.

Pure has been recording and mapping every location and incident of illegal dumping in the Wicklow/Dublin Uplands since 2006 and they have built up a base-line-data of all illegal dumping activity in this region, the location of dumping, type of dumping, landowner, approximate amount of dumping, and for several years now they have been recording an annual reduction. The data collected by Pure 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, environment/community/heritage projects – The Pure Mile, public awareness campaigns, regional/national media campaigns, enforcement and preventative measures, GPS/GIS database to record all illegal dumping sites, and they also have a dedicated vehicle, the Pure Truck, which removes all illegal dumping from the Wicklow/Dublin Uplands.

Although illegal dumping continues to plague our environment the Pure initiative has made huge progress in reducing dumping in the Wicklow/Dublin Uplands.  If you compare the amount of dumping collected by Pure in 2023, which was 120,000kg (120 tonnes) tonnes of waste, to 2008 which was the projects busiest year, when they removed 440,000kg (440 tonnes), the initiative has seen a 72% reduction in illegal dumping in Wicklow/Dublin Uplands.  

Earlier in the year, Minister of State at the Environment, Climate and Communications, Ossian Smyth TD, commented on the success of Pure, stating, “I think all of us who get to enjoy the Wicklow/Dublin uplands every year owe a debt of gratitude to all the local volunteers, both young and not so young, who take part in Pure Project and the Pure Mile for their continuing efforts to fight the scourge of illegal dumping in their local areas. I am delighted to confirm that my Department have recently committed to funding this important work for another 3-year period until 2026’. 

The Pure Truck is on the road every day, and since Pure was established in 2006, and it has now removed over 4,000,000kg (4,000 tonnes) of rubbish from over 14,800 illegal dumping sites in the Wicklow/Dublin Uplands, with the project processing over 15,900 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 800,000 bags.   If you lined up all these bags on the road, they would stretch all the way from Dublin Airport to Mizen Head in Cork, and back again. 

Ian Davis, Manager of Pure since the project was initiated in 2006 commented,

“The Pure partnership approach, incorporating statutory and non-statutory organisations, and members of the public, has proven extremely successful in combating illegal dumping in the Wicklow/Dublin Uplands.  However, we have been extremely busy in 2024 and in the first four months we removed 60,000kg of illegally dumped waste which is an increase compared to past years.  A recent dumping site of 1,500kg of timber decking in the remote and scenic Wicklow Mountains, reported to us on our call line 1800 365 123 by the National Parks and Wildlife Service, is now under investigation by Wicklow County Council.  We have made huge progress in reducing illegal dumping, but we cannot become complacent, and it is vital that we continue to monitor the situation, if not we will unfortunately see a return to the old days, with an increase in illegal dumping in the Wicklow/Dublin Uplands’”

There are now over 950 miles (1,529 Kilometres) of roads, mountains, woodlands, valleys, forests, upland amenities, car parks, pull-ins, and even some coastal areas, involved in the Pure Mile, the largest number ever since the initiative began.  Thousands of litter picks and clean-ups undertaken by Pure Mile Volunteers have resulted in the removal of hundreds of tonnes of illegally dumped waste and thousands of bags of litter and rubbish from the Wicklow, South Dublin, and Dun-Laoghaire, uplands.  The success of the Pure Mile demonstrates the importance and necessity of the initiative and the need for continued collaboration and engagement to protect the Wicklow/Dublin upland environment.   

2024 is the 15th anniversary of the Pure Mile and Pure are currently working with all types of groups and businesses who are assisting Pure to ‘Clean Up The Wicklow/Dublin Uplands’.  A number of litter picks and cleanup events have already been held this year and recently Pure had to cancel an event due to the lack of litter in the environment. The Wicklow/Dublin Uplands is a unique landscape and environment and although Pure have removed tonnes of illegal dumping from this beautiful scenic landscape, they only have one truck and one driver, so they are unable to remove the unsightly small-scale litter from the area.  The Pure Mile Groups make a huge difference to the appearance of the Wicklow/Dublin Uplands and Pure would like to congratulate all of the Pure Mile Volunteers involved in the initiative over the past 15 years.  Further Pure Mile litter picks, clean-ups, anti-dumping initiatives, community projects, biodiversity, and heritage projects, are currently being organised throughout the year. 

Pure supply all Pure Mile Groups with Pure Mile Signs, Pure Mile Bags, Pure Mile High-Vis Vests, litter pickers and gloves, and the Pure Truck collects all rubbish and litter gathered by groups.  All groups who register with the Pure Mile are invited to the Pure Mile Awards Night, and all receive a Certificate of Participation, a selection of Native Irish Trees, and all feature in the Pure Mile Calendar.

To celebrate the 15th anniversary of the Pure Mile, Pure are looking for groups, communities, individuals, schools, walking groups, cycling groups, running groups, scouts, businesses, organisations, EVERYONE, to get involved.  People 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.

LO-CALL 1800 365 123

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; 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, and 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.

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

  • A lo-call-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
  • Suitable preventative measures
  • Pure Promotional/informational material
  • Education programmes – Primary school teacher’s pack – Pure Animation, Pure Music, Pure Theatre, etc.
  • Community initiatives – The Pure Mile
  • Public awareness campaigns
  • Website – www.pureproject.ie
  • Digital marketing campaigns
  • Media campaigns


  • 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