Mr. Denis Naughten, T.D.,
Minister for Communications, Climate Action & Environment
Gum Litter Taskforce (GLT)
2018 Campaign Launch
Monday 18th June @ 1.30 p.m.
Check against delivery
Ladies and Gentlemen, Girls and Boys
I am delighted to be here today along with the Gum Litter Taskforce representatives to launch the 2018 'Bin your gum when you're done' campaign.
In April this year my Department negotiated a new agreement with industry to tackle gum litter. I am looking forward to seeing the new and innovative ways that this year's campaign will engage with communities nationwide to raise awareness of this very important issue. I hope it will, as with previous campaigns, affect widespread and positive behavioural change towards gum disposal.
The gum litter campaigns have been successful to date, creating a positive shift in public attitudes and behaviour towards the correct disposal of gum, through a targeted education awareness campaign. However we should not become complacent as despite good progress, there is still much to do.
In 2008 gum litter made up over 30% of all litter recorded by local authorities in the annual litter survey. My Department has just published the results of the 2017 litter survey, I can tell you now that gum litter has fallen to less than 10% of all litter recorded in 2017 which is its lowest level ever. This follows many years of hard work by the GLT and is an excellent example of an industry working with the State and demonstrating genuine corporate social responsibility.
Last year's campaign showed that 93% of people stated that they regard chewing gum as litter, pointing to the impact which the campaign has affected since it first began.
The GLT have a specific education program for schools which aims to inform young people about the environmental damage and social cost of littering when items such as chewing gum are disposed of carelessly.
Litter is also one of the key themes of the Green Schools programme which is supported by my Department. I'm sure that the students here will be very aware of the damage caused by litter through that programme. The GLT education campaign ties in well with the work of the Green Schools programme and reinforces the message of the environmental vandalism of littering. These initiatives are undertaken to encourage young people nationwide to take a keen interest in environmental issues.
As you know, litter of all kinds pollutes our environment and impacts negatively on our communities. In addition to this, litter can also impact on the economy. It costs local councils tens of millions of euro, each and every year, to keep the country clean and free of litter, including chewing gum litter.
I am serious about tackling the scourge of litter in this country. Since taking up office I have substantially increased the funding available for anti-litter initiatives including the National Spring Clean and the Anti-Litter Awareness Grants Scheme.
County pride can often be demonstrated through sports and culture but county and community pride can also be shown through our treatment of our local area. Respect is the key element. I hope that everyone here and in the GLT programme will show leadership in tackling litter of all types, and help spread the message that littering is damaging to our environment and is totally unacceptable.
I am always delighted to meet so many people who clearly care so much about our environment and would like to thank you for attending today and to remind you to 'Bin your gum when you're done!!'
Go raibh míle maith agat.