09 Aug 2022

PHOTOS: ‘Disrespect towards Dundalk natural heritage has to stop’


It’s taken a Frenchman living in Dundalk for the past seven years to highlight the wholesale littering and environmental contempt occurring of late at one of Dundalk's most scenic natural walk areas.

Emilie Deprez says that he loves nothing more than to walk along the Castletown River - it has become an integral part of his day while living in the town.

“With Covid-19, I allow myself a daily walk around Castletown River for one hour, between 06:30 to 07:30 before the first joggers and dog walkers arrive. And every day Castletown River never ceased to amaze me by the richness of its fauna and the tranquility of its surroundings,” he explains.

But, Emilie has captured the full extent of the littering and dumping which has become an eyesore and awful blight on the area. It has gotten worse in recent times, Emilie feels.

“This morning I felt disheartened to see that someone had trashed the wooden pontoon from where I watch the birds. Some might say, it’s no big deal. It’s just a couple of greasy papers and take-away boxes. But if you scrutinize what's really around the river, it can only fill you with disgust and sadness.”

He adds: “I do feel sad because I genuinely love Castletown River and I hate to see the place like that. What I saw this morning was just greasy papers and boxes but it is accumulating with the rest. And this incivility and disrespect toward Dundalk natural heritage has to stop.

“It terribly saddened me because that's not what I usually see.

“Littering in a small amount is incredibly annoying and yet tolerable.

“But this time it really reached another certain level.”

However, Emilie says he is not beaten and finished yet, he believes, with a community effort, something can be done to improve the situation.

“I believe we could keep the shores and the Riverside Walk clean but it must be a community effort. An annual green initiative could be a start to clean the place when social distances will allow us to stand together again.

“But one day in a year won't be sufficient. People have to be aware that around this river there are habitats, birds, flowers, sometimes endangered species like the curlew.

“And if we abandon this place to wild littering I really wonder what we will have left to watch of natural wonders in the future.”

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