Clean-up in the Lee Fields area of the River Lee organised by An Taisce’s Green-Schools team

On Friday, 7th February, Green-School Ambassadors from six secondary schools attended a clean-up in the Lee Fields area of the River Lee organised by An Taisce’s Green-Schools team and sponsored by Irish Water. Nine bags of litter were collected by the group which included six teachers, staff from An Taisce’s Green-Schools team and Irish Water representatives.

Why is this needed?

Each year millions of tonnes of litter enter our rivers and river-banks, resulting in environmental, economic, health and aesthetic challenges. Today’s clean-up helped the Green-Schools Ambassadors realise the importance of removing river litter from our beautiful rivers and in turn protecting our river habitats and wildlife.

Aisling Buckley, Irish Water’s Green-Schools representative said “We were delighted to take part in the clean-up on 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 river litter and the importance of doing all we can to tackle it so that amenities like the River Lee can continue to be enjoyed by all.”

What is involved in the Green-Schools water programme?

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 Workshops, 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.”

Think Before You Flush campaign

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.

What is the Green-Schools programme?

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. Sixty-six secondary school students were selected as Green-Schools Water Ambassadors in 2018/19 and from these nine students were selected as Regional Water Ambassador winners. Their continued work to educate and inspire their peers on water as a resource to conserve extends to the greater community.
 
During the academic year 2018-2019, 122 schools were awarded the water flag since the beginning of the Green-Schools programme and there are currently 514 schools, with every county represented, working on this important theme.

More information

For more information on our Think Before You Flush campaign visit our Think Before You Flush page. For more on the Green-Schools programme visit our Green-Schools page.

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