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Litter ‘negatively impacts mental health’, says director of new Crumlin documentary


Beta Bajgart and Olga Tiernan's documentary 'Not My Bag' charts the impact of litter in Crumlin

Beta Bajgart and Olga Tiernan's documentary 'Not My Bag' charts the impact of litter in Crumlin

Beta Bajgart and Olga Tiernan's documentary 'Not My Bag' charts the impact of litter in Crumlin

Litter problems in Dublin can “negatively impact mental health”, according to the director of a new documentary.

Beta Bajgart’s short film, Not My Bag, questions the individual responsibility we all face when confronted with the climate crisis.

She created the film with producer Olga Tiernan, who she met during local Saturday morning litter clean-ups in Crumlin.

Considering the roll out of a new Waste Action Plan in 2020, and the recent introduction of Ireland’s Circular Economy Bill in 2022, the documentary narrators take a deep dive into how urban citizens are supported to live sustainably.

Crumlin is just one are area struggling to solve the issues of littering and dumping, according to Beta.

Although the area was listed as “Clean to European Norms” in the latest Irish Business Against Litter report 2022, the film shows how the realities that locals face can often be quite different.

“We wanted to create the film because we both live in Crumlin and we’re both frustrated by the amount of litter that we see on the streets,” Beta said.

“We litter pick every Saturday with the Crumlin Community Clean Up Group. It’s important to feel you have support and you’re not alone in this battle. The group is a good place for like-minded people.

“We met on the streets of Crumlin and started this journey to find out where the litter comes from, why we’re not able to stop it, and the support we’re receiving as a community.

“It’s difficult to create any sort of climate action in a community that is not supported by the government. We’ve experienced it in real life.

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“It’s damaging to the area, but it also negatively affects mental health. It’s a mental health issue, if you’re in an environment that is not looked after.”

The documentary queries the lack of environmental leadership at local level.

“We know we’re all responsible for the state of our environment, and we all need to do better,” Beta said.

“But how are we supposed to change our disposable way of living when presented with so few, convenient options? That’s what drove us to create this documentary.

“Only 10pc of recycling gets recycled, so we think it’s important to stop creating the waste. Everything starts with education.

“One of the most important things to do is to support education and create awareness of a shared environment and shared spaces. The support of the local government is needed too. We still don’t have a deposit scheme in Ireland,” Beta said.

Producer Olga added: “Ultimately, Not My Bag suggests we need specific long-term solutions to waste management and meaningful solutions to reduction over recycling.

“We can’t recycle our way out of this, and it can’t be all on the end consumer to just ‘do better’, we need to look at the system, not the self.”

This short film will have its debut screening at Crumlin College of Further Education at 7pm on March 30. The screening is free and will be followed by a panel discussion and light refreshments.

Independent.ie has contacted Dublin City Council for comment. 

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