Wild Atlantic Way-ste – A Wake-Up Call to Arms
Solo exercising on a beautiful early spring afternoon, I took a fast-paced march down the Claddaghduff Road from my home towards the Westport Road (making sure, of course, to observe the 2km rule). The sun was shining, it was nostalgically warm, Vit D levels were being boosted nicely, wild, pale yellow primroses were flowering; all was well within the new world so mind-blowingly forced upon us in the blink of an eye. Or so I thought.
Determined to take some photos of the staggeringly beautiful scenes I passed, both on a micro and macro level, I started to look more closely at the details. More specifically, I started to study the makeup of the verges and the hedgerows.
Alerted by the therapeutic sounds of gently babbling water, I was initially delighted to see a mini waterfall cascading down the verge, passing under the road, and exiting the other side into Streamstown Bay. The sun was dancing off the water, the scene was framed by wild flowers and everything was perfect. Except for one thing. The disposable coffee cup perched incongruously right there in the middle of this ‘idyllic’ natural tableau.
Confused by my alarming discovery, I studied the scene more closely. The coffee cup was not alone. It had company. Company in the harsh aluminium shape of a well-known brand of energy drink. Yet more company, a little further down, in the form of a milkshake cup from that well-known burger chain beginning with ‘M’. How did that get there? Is the nearest ‘M’ outlet not Galway? Many kilometres away?
Further perusal along the route defining part of the rural Wild Atlantic Way, I discovered a litany of litter shame including items such as buckets, plastic bottles, chocolate wrappers, drinks cans, a forlorn headless cuddly toy (I jest not), and numerous disposable coffee cups. A sight to be expected perhaps in other parts of the country, but not here, surely?
Determined not to let this gruesome discovery of, one can only surmise, human nature in all its cosmopolitan glory, I continued with my solo exercise and averted my eyes upwards and over the iconic stone walls to take in the glorious sun-bedecked views of Kingstown and beyond. That felt better. But, nagging away in the back of my mind were the thoughts – ‘where is this going to end? Who is going to clean up this mess? Why is this even happening? Just what possesses people to throw stuff out of their car windows in the first place?’
I have decided that, once our current situation is over (or maybe even during it – if it’s allowed), something will need to be done. If that means going out whenever possible with a mechanical litter picker to collect just a fraction of the horrors spoiling the natural beauty of the place we lovingly call home, then so be it.
Something positive to come from isolation. Awareness of our immediate environment and a new sense of responsibility for its welfare and survival.
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