Roscommon Communities Awarded for protecting their environment

Date released: Aug 11 2009

At an awards ceremony on Tuesday 11th August, several community groups in Roscommon were awarded by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and An Taisce, for their participation in the Green Home and Green Communities programme. Mr Duncan Stewart, TV presenter and award-winning architect, presented the award to each group.

Speaking at the awards ceremony, Niamh Leahy, EPA Media Relations Officer said:

“The vision is to develop the Green Home programme into a network of organisations and individuals working together towards a common goal.  When people work together to create a cleaner environment such activities enhance community spirit.  We want to mobilise communities in Ireland to live more environmentally sustainable lives and that is what these groups in Roscommon have been awarded for today.”

Since October, attending Green Home meetings, completing environmental surveys and undertaking activity challenges on the themes of waste, water, energy and transport has been part of the daily routine for these groups.

Each of the community groups also organised a community ‘Action Day’ in their local area.

  • The Ballintober Tidy Towns group set up a community composter.
  • Croghan Organic Garden and Croghan Tidy Towns hosted an ‘Open Day’ where people got lots of tips on how to ‘grow your own' fruit and vegetables and creative ways to educate children from the local crèche about flora and fauna.
  • Frenchpark Tidy Towns and Frenchpark ICA transformed a formerly wild and overgrown plot of land into a thriving community garden and also ran a battery recycling initiative.  Following the success of the battery recycling in Frenchpark, this initiative is now set to be rolled out through all primary schools in Ireland in the coming months.
  • Keadue Tidy Towns  set up a community rainwater harvester.
  • Lisacul Ladies Club carried out an energy saving light bulb demonstration and survey to identify where the best value is available. The group also distributed ‘Hippo Bags’ for toilet cisterns throughout the local community to reduce water usage.
  • Strokestown Tidy Towns and Strokestown Community Development Association held a very successful collection day for waste electronic and electric equipment (WEEE) that yielded 14 tonnes of waste appliances.
  • Tarmonbarry Development and Tidy Towns recruited local boat owners to apply for the eco label ‘Blue Flag for Boat owners’.  This is a pledge made by boat owners to behave in an environmentally responsible manner in all their boating activities.
  • Ballaghaderreen Active Retirement Association encouraged local businesses to consider a more ‘Green’ approach to business, via a Green Business initiative.

Dorothy Stewart, Environmental Education Unit, An Taisce said:

“The fundamental aim of the Green Home programme is to advise and support householders as they save money on their bills and reduce their impact on the environment.  Results from the ‘before and after’ surveys have proven that the programme has been a success with improvements in behaviour in relation to waste generation, energy use, water consumption and transport choices.”

Interesting results have emerged from the data collected via the Green Home householder surveys in Roscommon. Respondents who completed a ‘before and after’ survey showed the following improvements:

  • 35 per cent more respondents were avoiding buying over packaged goods;
  • 12 per cent more were recycling plastic;
  • 24 per cent more respondents were investing in insulation;
  • the number of people who invested in ‘A’ rated energy efficient appliances rose by 35 per cent;
  • there was a substantial increase in the number of people who buy energy efficient light bulbs, turn appliances off standby mode and only use dishwashers and tumble dryers on full loads.

Suzanne Dempsey, Environmental Education Officer, Roscommon County Council, said:

“The Green Home householders were encouraged to consider making small behavioural changes and to become part of the solution.  This Green Home programme is entirely dependent upon people working together in partnership and on people’s willingness to give their time and energy to help to make a difference in their community.  Today they have been awarded for their efforts, and a Green Communities road sign will be displayed at these community areas as a symbol of their success.”

Roscommon County Council staff, and in particular Suzanne Dempsey, have dedicated  their time, hard work, energy, and most of all ‘local knowledge’, and have been instrumental to the success of the Green Home programme in Roscommon. 

The Green Home programme, was developed by the Environmental Education Unit in An Taisce and is funded by the EPA under the National Waste Prevention Programme.  For further information on the Green Home programme visit www.greenhome.ie.

ENDS

Further information:

Niamh Leahy, EPA Media Relations Office 053-9170770 (24 hours)      

Environment Department, Roscommon County Council 0906-637268