Rubbish was the topic of conversation at this year’s recent Environmental YouthSpeak competition - not actually talking rubbish but talking about rubbish.
The annual public speaking competition is open to school pupils aged nine to 13 organised by Northern Irelands Councils in conjunction with NI’s three regional waste management groups.
The competition gives pupils the opportunity to research and debate current environmental issues as well as being an excellent opportunity for pupils to develop their self-confidence and communication skills.
This year’s topics for debate for the junior category was “Shrink Your Bin…One Less Bag To Landfill”, while the senior category discussed the issue of “WEEE* Waste, Big Problem – What can we do?” (*Waste electrical and electronic equipment).
The competition began at local Council level with Cookstown District Council heats being held in the Council Chamber on Wednesday 21st March. A total of ten entrants from five of the Districts Primary Schools were in attendance.
All entrants put forward excellent debates and it was clear to see that a lot of effort had been put into their preparation. After some very stiff competition David Eagleson (Orritor PS) was chosen as the winner of the Cookstown District Council junior heat. All participants displayed an excellent wealth of knowledge on the topic and represented their Schools with pride. All entrants received a certificate and a goody bag in recognition of their participation.
On Friday March 23, the senior entrant James Marks from Cookstown High School travelled to Dungannon where he competed along with entrants from The Royal School Dungannon.
Both David and James progressed on to the regional finals held in Mossley Mill, Newtownabbey on Thursday April 26 where they competed against other local heat winners from the seven other Council areas in the SWaMP2008 region. Both students were said to have put forward an excellent debate but were unfortunately narrowly defeated in the regional finals.
A very enjoyable and educational day was had by all with representatives from Department of the Environment and the European Recycling Platform (ERP) in attendance to offer information and guidelines on waste and recycling and COOL FMs Pete Snodden making a guest appearance.
Congratulations was extended to both James and David.