November 26, 2020

Discarded tents, bbqs, clothes, sleeping bags, plastic bags, glass bottles, raw meat – campers again leave Wicklow beauty spot like a dump

Parts of one of Wicklow’s best-loved beauty spots was left looking like a camping dump for the second weekend in a row.

The picturesque Glenmalure Valley again suffered extensive levels of rubbish after camping groups descended on the area and left without bothering to clean up after themselves.

Wicklow Uplands Council reported that discarded tents, bbqs, clothing, sleeping bags, plastic bags, glass bottles, raw meat and other food items, lay strewn across the forest floor.

This follow a similar event only last weekend, which resulted in members of the Glenmalure Pure Mile group having to organise an emergency clean-up operation.

According to local volunteers, such incidents are now are “a growing and common occurrence”, with over 10 tonnes of refuse and visitor waste being collected and removed over the last two years alone.

In response to the latest incidents, which reportedly involved youths and a separate family, the Glenmalure Pure Mile Group organised a litter pick for 6.30pm earlier this evening.

Meanwhile, there are also reports that locations in the Dublin Uplands experienced similar incidents over the weekend and popular locations in Wicklow such as Lough Dan and the Blessington Lakes have recorded multiple incidents of rubbish and abandoned picnic and camping equipment left behind by visitors.

A spokesperson for Wicklow Uplands Council said: “Due to travel restrictions and other measures introduced in response to Covid-19, an increase in domestic visitors has been witnessed across much the region – something that is likely to continue for the remainder of 2020.

“The remote glacier valley of Glenmalure is a popular choice with hillwalkers, campers and visitors, however, unfortunately it seems to also be attracting groups who are treating it in a manner more likely to be witnessed at a large music festival.

“This challenge extends well beyond that of extensive littering and crosses into the realms of anti-social behaviour that local communities and other visitors are dealing with on a frequent basis.”

The council added: “Not only is the rubbish a blight on the landscape, broken glass creates a public health risk and discarded food items (including both cooked and raw meat) can be very damaging to wildlife – especially when wrapped in plastic.

“The environmental impact is not simply one of littering either, as many of the items left abandoned in the midst of fragile ecosystems are plastic based with a life cycle lasting hundreds of years.

“The Avonbeg River which supports the area’s sensitive biodiversity, flows through the Glenmalure Valley before joining the Avonmore to form the Avoca River – home to a 11 species of fish, birds such as heron and the red kite and countless other wildlife.”

PHOTOS: John Nolan and Martina Byrne


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