Have you a dirty mind?
Leitrim students launch unique anti-litter campaign

Did you know you could fill Croke Park stadium with the amount of litter collected annually in Ireland? The Irish Government spends €100m every year to combat litter. Locally €4,000 has been spent to remove chewing gum from the streets of Carrick-on-Shannon.

Did you know you could fill Croke Park stadium with the amount of litter collected annually in Ireland? The Irish Government spends €100m every year to combat litter. Locally €4,000 has been spent to remove chewing gum from the streets of Carrick-on-Shannon.

These are just some of the facts that stood out from the launch of the colourful and eyecatching anti-litter exhibition by secondary students from around the county, which is on display in The Dock, Carrick-on-Shannon.

The group ask “Have you a dirty mind? to the background of a photo of rubbish (taken in Carrick-on-Shannon), they also created posters in the Andy Wharhol style with portraits of themselves in rubbish with the tag line “Karen got trashed - don’t join her.” They also created an informative video and banner entitled “Leitrim rooted in nature.” This project focuses on the facts and figures of recycling and litter. The students learned how to design a campaign as well as create an accompanying video.

The students told the Leitrim Observer that the tag lines used were a twist on words, the “trashed” reference is a take on teenage binge drinking and the “Have you a dirty mind” quote is a “reflection of personality.”

The students have been working on the project since before Easter, they are all interested in art and design. They said the project has helped raise awareness amongst themselves and other young people. They agreed that the cost of cleaning up litter should shock people who partake in throwing and leaving rubbish.

Martin Dolan of Leitrim County Council said he was delighted to see such enthusiasm from the students. “Litter is still a serious problem” he said, despite all the efforts of local authorities, the EPA, the Department of Environment and local volunteers on Tidy towns Committees. He said sadly it is not just a “minority misbehaving” and “spoiling our country.”

Mr Dolan said the majority of Leitrim schools now have green flags but still young people coming out of school “throw things out of cars.” He complimented the students on their exhibition. The poster campaigns are expected to be used as part of the Leitrim County Council Anti Litter Campaign and Mr Dolan said the council will be recommending the posters to the national Anti Litter campaign.

Kathleen Coleman of Carrick Tidy Towns said they are working towards a gold medal in the Tidy Towns Competition this year. She said the town won the Entente Florale and got a silver in Tidy Towns last year, but emphasised the hard work this takes to achieve. She said there is a team of twenty people picking up litter in Carrick each week. She informed the crowd that the council spent €4,000 on removing chewing gum alone. She said it costs a lot of money to clear up litter.

Nine students from Junior Cert to Leaving Cert years collaborated on the three striking exhibitions with the guidance of designer Padraig Cunningham of Pure Designs and funded by Leitrim County Council, Leitrim Arts, The Dock and Pure Designs. The students were Daniel Drews, Carrick on Shannon Community School, James Barden Mohill Community College, Tadhg Murray Carrigallen Vocational School, Elliot Browne Clarke Carrick on Shannon Community School, Saoirse Bazzani Bancroft Lough Allen College, Holly Gardner Lough Allen College, Deirdre Rawle Carrigallen Vocational School, Blue-Skye Spence Carrick on Shannon Community School and Jessie Desmond Smith Ballinamore PPS.