Public awareness campaign to tackle litter issue in district

Public awareness campaign to tackle litter issue in district

14 July 2021

A NEW campaign has been launched aimed at tackling the district’s litter problem.

Newry, Mourne and Down Council has teamed up with Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful to address an issue which is perplexing residents, business owners and visitors.

The local authority is determined to get on top of an issue which is blighting the district. It says litter is perhaps one of the most significant low-level environmental crimes affecting the district.

Council officials say while there is no official statutory definition of litter, it can be anything that is ped, thrown, left or deposited in a public place such as cigarette ends, packaging, cans and bottles.

Litter is most commonly assumed to include materials often associated with smoking, eating and drinking, that are improperly discarded and left by members of the public.  

The local authority’s new public awareness campaign has been developed in partnership with Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful, an independent charity dedicated to creating a cleaner, greener and more sustainable local environment. 

The Live Here Love Here ‘this is a disgrace’ campaign features a strong anti-littering message and is being implemented to proactively support the council’s enforcement improvement plan. 

Council officials hope that through partnership working and strong messaging across a range of media channels, online adverts and PR, the campaign aims to build strong relationships with residents, specifically 

around discarding their waste responsibly. 

The puppet character which features in the new campaign delivers messages in relation to ‘littering and fixed penalties’ and appeals to all age ranges, raising awareness and driving the behaviour change we all need in our communities.

Results from a Keep NI Beautiful litter composition analysis completed in 2019 estimated that there are 1.3 million items of litter on the province’s streets at any one time and that for every item binned, three items were littered.

Council chairwoman, Cathy Mason, said the organisation was committed to address littering within the district, making it clear that everyone needs to play their part and be part of the solution.

“Everyone has a duty to manage their waste responsibly and the prevention of litter is the best way to reduce the damaging impact litter has on our environment,” she continued.

“Whilst it is challenging times in which we are living, let’s keep our district beautiful by keeping our communities clean, green and litter free and put litter in the bin, not on the ground.”

Keep NI Beautiful chief executive, Dr Ian Humphreys, said the organisation was delighted to be working with the council on what he described as this “excellent initiative that seeks to nudge all of us into doing the right thing with our litter.”

He explained that most litter is plastic and, increasingly, as micro plastics which “is coming back to haunt us” whether in the water people drink, the air they breathe or the food they eat.

“To continue looking after neighbours, children, family and friends, as we have been doing throughout this terrible pandemic, we now need to protect our environment, by putting our litter in the bin,” Mr Humphreys added.

The new litter awareness campaign also emphasises that it is an offence to drop and leave litter in any open or public space and highlights the ability for the council’s enforcement teams to issue fixed penalty fines of up to £80, or pursue court proceedings against those guilty of litter offences. 

Public Notices relating to littering will also be displayed prominently across the district to ensure that enforcement message is clear as part of the new campaign.

Fo further information on littering, fly-tipping and how to report issues visit  www.newrymournedown.org/fly-tipping-and-littering.