Litter Mugs welcome the first dipper to park

By Aura McMenamin

The Tallaght Litter Mugs have welcomed the arrival of a bird species to Sean Walsh Memorial Park, as the park’s first ever dipper bird has been spotted.

The Litter Mugs, who do a thorough monthly litter pick-up of the park, including Whitestown Stream and its waterfalls, have been working with South Dublin County Council to make the park a more safe place for wildlife.

Sean Walsh Park

The voluntary group welcomed the news of Tallaght’s highest ever ranking in the Irish Business Against Litter (IBAL) survey this year, with Tallaght being ranked the fifth cleanest town in a national survey.

Tallaght is now branded ‘cleaner than European standards’ after it moved up in the league rankings by 17 places since September 2017.

The area has certainly come a long way since 2010 when it ranked as a ‘litter blackspot’.

A number of areas were included in the survey including Tallaght Village, the Civic Theatre and its environs, Tallaght Luas Stop and Sean Walsh Park.

Litter Mug John Kiberd told The Echo: “While we can’t take credit for the other areas, we have certainly been working hard at the park for the past year.

“Rain, hail or shine we’re there once a month.”

Mr Kiberd said that the Litter Mugs, which has a core group of up to 14 volunteers, have been working with South Dublin County Council to make the park’s streams safer for swans, ducks and other birds and animals.

The Litter Mugs do a thorough cleaning of the park’s pond and streams, but the park’s waterfalls still pose a problem for younger birds.

He said: “The park was designed to be aesthetically pleasing but some of the waterfalls are a hazard for young swans who get trapped at the bottom of the waterfall. We are working with the council for a solution that will still allow water to flow down.”

According to Mr Kiberd, the Litter Mugs have seen their workload decrease in recent times, which may be due to their regular presence and visibility in the park.

He said: “I don’t know if it's a matter of people littering less, but we don’t seem to be picking up as much litter.”

However, the group hopes to get students at the nearby Old Bawn Community School on board with anti-littering measures in the New Year and have made contact with the school to set up anti-littering initiatives.

“When students cross over the bridge into the park on their way to school, they just drop their litter. We want them to stop and think and just hold onto their litter.”

“They’re the ones that have to live with the consequences.”       

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