‘Weeds shall overcome’ the clarion cry as mural highlights eco-issues

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A new mural depicting native wild flowers being pollinated by a bee has been unveiled in the Bogside just a few hundred metres from one of Derry’s air pollution black spots.

The giant foxgloves, daisies and dandelions at Kells Walk have been unveiled by Zero Waste North West who want to use street art to raise environmental awareness.

ZWNW chair, Maeve O’Neill, said Rossville Street was the perfect location given its history of street art that’s currently under the spotlight as the October 5, 1968, commemorations approach.

‘Weeds shall overcome’ is the tongue-in-cheek but highly appropriate slogan attached to the new mural.

“Derry, and the Bogside in particular, have a strong history of using murals for social and political issues. Climate change and the environment are current political issues, and we hope we can spread a positive message using beautiful art that will sow seeds for protecting our environment in the city and surrounding area,” she said.

“Seeing the beauty in the weed and the wild flower and letting them grow is a first step in supporting our eco-systems.

“We want to promote and celebrate the role of the humble weed, for our people and our bees, by encouraging people to grow wild, connect with nature, celebrate diversity and protect the eco-systems that protect our planet.

“We are delighted to have discovered that Derry City and Strabane District Council use no insecticides in their grounds maintenance, protecting our local bees,” she added.

While the establishment of Derry City Council, the removal of the property vote and the creation of the Housing Executive met many of the original civil rights movement’s demands, ZWNW believe the right to breath clean air has yet to be secured.

The mural is located only a few hundred metres from Marlborough Street where, until it went offline three-and-a-half years ago, an air quality probe found Nitrogen Dioxide levels - associated with exhaust fumes - had exceeded EU and UK recommended levels.

Last year the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) reported Derry among 44 cities in the UK that had breached World Health Organisation (WHO) air quality guidelines, with levels worse than Newcastle, Sunderland and Reading.

“Zero Waste North West produced this mural near Creggan Hill because it is one of the worst air pollution spots in Derry. In May, a WHO report said the city had an ‘unsafe’ level of fine particle pollutants,” the group said.

The main mural was painted by UV-Arts, a Derry based duo specialising in street art.