A Tidy Triumph
It’s great to win something. To have an achievement recognised and rewarded. It makes you feel good about yourself. And if ever there was a time that we needed to feel good…
That’s why it has been so enjoyable basking in the glow of our recent Tidy Towns triumph. Cleaning up with this major award has been a well deserved and welcome boost.
The place has really never looked so good. Our streets are clean, our walkways well maintained and our roundabouts resemble something you’d find at the Chelsea Flower Show. It didn’t happen all by itself, obviously; every weekend over the summer I found myself stumbling over assorted groups of zealous litter picker-uppers.
Uniformly clad in big boots and high vis vests, these energetic teams kitted out with gloves and bin bags seemed to swarm around the fringes of the city, frantically cleaning up everything in their path.
All volunteers with other, more interesting and hygienic things they could be doing on a Saturday and Sunday morning, they took precious time out to make our city look a lot more presentable. For that, we should all be very thankful.
And after expressing our thanks, we might then ask them to don their high vis vests once more and travel a little bit further out, if they don’t mind. I’d hate to take up too many more of their weekends, but they did such a good job on the city, imagine what they could achieve if they travelled out to the county.
Because while the centre of Kilkenny might be award-winning for it’s cleanliness, head out a mile or two and you’ll soon find yourself up to your shins in other people’s rubbish. From bin bags to matresses, it seems no tat is too big and cumbersome to dump in someone else’s ditch.
Within a half mile radius of where I live I’ve come across everything from half-eaten snack boxes and out of date dvds to what appeared to be part of an industrial kitchen unit and even a discarded pair of jeans and boxer shorts (I confess after spotting these I did feel slightly worried I’d round the corner and bump into their owner).
A farmer up the road from me recently found a slightly worse for wear black leather three piece suite dumped into one of his fields. Either the cows were getting tired of all that standing around or someone went to an awful lot of trouble to get rid of it.
But with our tidy towns volunteers on the case, things could be so different. Without wanting to be pushy, might I suggest they work in two different teams, maybe tackling a different part of the county each weekend. Team 1 could deal with all our dirty ditches, clearing away the nasty debris and restoring our hedgerows to their former glory.
Admittedly, they’d need more than just rubber gloves and bin-bags for this job, some of the larger items of rubbish would probably require a small digger or forklift and protective clothing would be necessary for the more hazardous waste, like the aforementioned jeans and boxer shorts.
The second team, let’s call them Team 2, would be on security detail. Setting up small, tidy towns road blocks; stopping and searching all vehicles for signs of “intent to dump”. Only the big, burly and downright scary volunteers could do this job, obviously. The type of person who loads their grimy waste into the boot and heads off looking for somewhere nice to drop it is bound to be a difficult type.
It would take a special class of volunteer to handle them. But I’ve seen some of these tidy towns people, they’d be well up to the job. Needless to say, I’d be more than happy to help out myself.
With our two crack teams patrolling the rural roadways, I’m sure it wouldn’t take long for the place to start looking a little bit cleaner. It would soon be possible to take a walk or drive outside the city and not get up close and personal with other people’s waste.
Pretty soon the rest of Kilkenny would be just as pretty, fragrant and grime free as our city is. And who knows, maybe next year we’ll win another award (admittedly one that doesn’t exist yet) for the tidiest county in the country. Wouldn’t that be nice?