Students clean up at Cookstown litter challenge seminar

PUPILS from Cookstown High School and Holy Trinity College have cleaned up at a local seminar aimed at raising awareness of the impact of litter.

The students joined representatives from the Chamber of Commerce and local business community in the ‘Our Towns Our Streets’ event held

at the Burnavon, Cookstown.

They discussed the issue of litter and its impact on our everyday lives in the District and ways to raise awareness to focus on our town, streets, scenic countryside, the public walkways, the play areas and highways.

Speakers that addressed the launch with hard hitting presentations on the topic included Council Operational Services and Environmental Health, Andrew Turkington from Parklands Veterinary Practice in Cookstown and Patricia Magee, of Tidy NI.

Cookstown District Council Chairman, Cllr. Tony Quinn led the discussion on the issue of litter and its impact on our everyday lives.

Speaking at the seminar, Cllr. Quinn said: “The amount of Council staff and resource time tasked to removing street/road litter, fly tipped waste and dog foul from the public thoroughfare has increased in recent years; the cost of providing these services now exceeds some £600 k per year.”

He continued: “I would like this event to be a turning point, where we work together as a ‘collective community’ to address this issue, for the benefit of everyone and our local economy.”

Year 13 pupils from both schools in attendance showcased videos which dealt with the topics of dog fouling and littering that they had made as part of the Councils’ Clean Neighbourhood Programme.

The event also saw the launch of Cookstown District Council’s new online ‘Report a Litterbug’ initiative. Members of the public are now able to access an online form, available 24/7 through the Councils website to report instances of littering and dog fouling in their area.

As well as encouraging the general public to keep an eye out for litter bugs, there is a serious message behind the campaign. Under new legislative powers, ‘litterbugs’ in the Cookstown District could face an £80 Fixed Penalty fine for dropping litter on the streets.

Cookstown Council have now made it easier than ever to report any instances of littering in the new section on their website available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, which can be found at http://www.cookstown.gov.uk/environmentalhealth.

If you would like more information on the ‘Our Towns Our Streets’ Initiative please contact the Environmental Health Department on envhealth@cookstown.gov.uk or telephone 028 8676 2205.