Posted on Tue 22 May 2018
Belfast City Eco-Schools win war on waste
Schools from all across Belfast recently gathered at Belfast City Hall to celebrate environmental excellence with Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful, Eco-Schools and Belfast City Council’s fourth year of the successful Wheelie Big Challenge.
The event was held in the spectacular setting of the Great Hall in Belfast City Hall. Schools across Belfast were invited to present their final findings and actions for this year’s Wheelie Big Challenge. The project saw pupils from 36 Belfast schools investigate and engage in practical actions to reduce waste, and particularly food waste, in school and at home by reducing, reusing and recycling.
St Michael's Primary School Primary School took first place in the Primary category, second in the same category were St Anne's Primary School and third place Blackmountain Primary. St Mary’s Christian Brother’s Grammar School took the top spot in the Post Primary category. St Maria Goretti Nursery took first place in the Nursery category with St Peter’s Nursery and Good Shepherd Nursery coming runners up.
Shortlisted schools attending set up brilliant displays highlighting the work they had undertaken for the Wheelie Big Challenge which included everything from worms to welly-boot planters. Some schools had moved from having no recycling in school to having as much as 80% of their rubbish recycled by the end of the Challenge and many introduced wormeries, composting and brown bin collections to tackle food waste.
Four Belfast Eco-Schools were also officially presented with the prestigious and internationally recognised Eco-Schools Green Flag award for excellence in environmental work in their schools: Forge Integrated Primary School, Good Shepherd Nursery School, Rosetta Primary School and St Joseph's College.
Ald Tommy Sandford, Chair of People and Communities Committee, Belfast City Council, said: “It’s fantastic to see the effort and team work that these children have put in, to bring the “reduce, reuse, recycle” message to life in such a creative way. Congratulations to all the schools who made it through to the finals. It was also great to be able to celebrate the achievement of the Belfast schools receiving Eco-Schools Green Flag accreditation”
Ruth Van Ry, Environmental Education Manager, Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful, said: “Congratulations to all the schools receiving awards today through the Wheelie Big Challenge and Eco-Schools programme. Today was a wonderful opportunity to reward the efforts being made by those in the local area doing their bit to make Belfast a cleaner, greener and more sustainable place in which to live and we are delighted to be supported by Belfast City Council in recognising these efforts.”
The Eco-Schools Programme is the world’s largest environmental education programme which aims to make environmental awareness and action an intrinsic part of school life. Eco-Schools work through a simple seven step process to implement behavioural change and study a range of topics, such as waste. By participating in projects like the Wheelie Big Challenge schools are able to reduce their environmental impact and become more sustainable as they work through their Eco-Schools Programme. The programme is funded by the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs and most local Councils including Belfast City Council.
Schools who would like to get involved in the Eco-Schools Programme, or who would like to find out more, please visit www.eco-schoolsni.org.