5 February 2019 Go back to News
Cleaning up the Lee Fields with Green-Schools Ambassadors
Green-Schools Ambassadors from three secondary schools took part in a Water Ambassador Action Day
Today, Green-Schools Ambassadors from three secondary schools in Co. Cork and Co. Tipperary attended a Water Ambassador Action Day on the banks of the River Lee. The river clean-up at the Lee Fields was organised by An Taisce’s Green-Schools team and sponsored by Irish Water.
Schools in action
The participating schools were St Anne's Tipperary, St Mary's Rochestown, and Christian Brothers College Cork. A dozen bags of litter were collected by the group which included teachers, staff from An Taisce’s Green-Schools team and Irish Water representatives.
Each year millions of tonnes of litter enter our rivers, seas and oceans, resulting in environmental, economic, health and aesthetic challenges. Today’s clean-up helped the Green-Schools Ambassadors realise the importance of removing litter from our beautiful riverbanks and in turn protect our wildlife habitats.
Speaking at the event, Marie Sheehan, Irish Water said: “We were delighted to take part in the clean-up at the Lee Fields today. This is a beautiful location and a wonderful amenity for locals and visitors alike, so it is vital that we all play our part in protecting it. Events like this help raise awareness of the impact of litter and the importance of doing all we can to tackle it so that amenities like the Lee Fields can continue to be enjoyed by all.”
Adding to this Cathy Baxter, Green-Schools Manager said: “The Green-Schools water programme has an exciting academic year lined up with a series of Water Forums, Walk for Water events, Water Ambassador Support Sessions, a poster competition and a prestigious awards ceremony which will announce the Water Schools of the Year. We are delighted to be partnering with Irish Water once again and we would like to thank all of our Water Ambassadors for taking the lead in educating the wider community about the importance of water conservation.”
Irish Water is also working in partnership with An Taisce’s Clean Coasts programme on the Think Before You Flush campaign which is a public awareness campaign about the problems sanitary products and other items can cause in the plumbing in our homes, our wastewater network and our marine environment when they are flushed down the toilet.
When the 3 Ps (Pee, Poo, & Paper) are flushed down the toilet they travel along the sewer network to our wastewater treatment plants and treated effluent is returned safely to our rivers and seas. However, every day people flush thousands of sanitary items such as wet wipes and cotton bud sticks down the toilet instead of simply putting them in the bin. This causes blockages in our network, pumping stations and wastewater treatment plants. These items can also end up on our beaches and cause serious damage to wildlife and the marine environment. It can also lead to blockages in sewers and wastewater treatment plants. For more check out our Think Before You Flush page.
Today’s event was part of the Water Theme of the Green Schools programme, a free programme which has been in operation since 2015 and is tailored for secondary school students from schools who are working on, or have already completed, the Water Theme. Students are asked to apply to become ambassadors and those that are successful attend one-day training events across the country as well as beach cleans and a support session. Fifty-seven students were named Green-Schools Water Ambassadors along with four Regional Ambassadors in 2017/18. Their continued work to educate and inspire their peers on water as a resource to conserve extends to the greater community
To date over 2,300 schools have been awarded the water flag since the beginning of the Green-Schools programme and there are currently 575 schools, with every county represented, working on this important theme.