Newry, Mourne and Down District Council has launched a new public awareness campaign to tackle the issue of littering and raise awareness of ‘Your Waste, Your Responsibility’.
Litter is perhaps one of the most significant low-level environmental crimes affecting our district. Whilst there is no official statutory definition of litter, it can be anything that is dropped, thrown, left or deposited that causes defacement in a public place such as cigarette ends, packaging, cans and bottles. It 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 new public awareness campaign has been developed in partnership with Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful, which is 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.
Through partnership working and strong messaging across a range of media channels such as social media, online adverts and PR, this campaign aims to build strong relationships with residents specifically around discarding their waste responsibly. The puppet character delivers memorable 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 Northern Ireland Beautiful litter composition analysis completed in 2019, estimate that there are 1.3 million items of litter on our streets at any one time in Northern Ireland, and the survey indicated from a cross section data analysed that for every item binned, three items were littered.
Newry, Mourne and Down District Council Chairperson, Councillor Cathy Mason said, “Council is committed to address littering within the district, however we all need to play our 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.”
“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 – remember ‘Put it in the Bin, Not on the Ground.”
Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful Chief Executive, Dr Ian Humphreys said, “We are delighted to be working with Newry, Mourne and Down District Council on this excellent initiative that seeks to nudge all of us into doing the right thing with our litter. Most litter is plastic and increasingly, as microplastics, it is coming back to haunt us, whether that’s in the water we drink, the air we breathe or the food we eat. So, 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.”
The new litter awareness campaign will also be emphasising that it is an offence to drop and leave litter in any open or public space and highlight the ability for the Council’s Enforcement Teams to issue fixed penalty fines, up to £80, or pursue court proceedings, to those individuals who are found guilty of litter offences.
Public Notices relating to littering will also be displayed prominently across the district to ensure that Enforcement message is clear.
For further information on littering, fly-tipping and how to report issues, please visit www.newrymournedown.org/fly-tipping-and-littering.