Litter & Waste

Litter and waste is a very important topic - it affects all of us and all of the animals and plants that share the planet with us.

Not only does it look unsightly it can be a health hazrd to us and to animals. The terrapin in the picture below, must have crawled into one of the rings of this plastic can holder when it was very young. Since then it has been growing and being gradually stangled by the plastic.


Litter

We found that there are four main stages to tackling litter:

1. Analyse the Problem

Before you even start to think about the solution you need to find out more about the problem. So we carried out a litter survey in the National Park, close to the Education Centre. This was to try and find out how big a problem litter is and who or what causes it.

Also we're setting up "Litter Black spots" to see if the amount of litter varies depending on the time of week / year?

Some students on work placement along with help from staff from the centre carried used a questionnaire to obtain the views of visitors and locals to the National Park iin relation to litter.

2. Devise an Action Plan

Once you understand the problem you have to think of ways to solve it. We are currently in the process of devising an action plan. We are monitoring our "litter black spots", collecting litter regularly and making as many people aware of our litter probliem as possible.

Our Action Plan will endeavour to involve as many people as possible and from that we will agree on a number of targets to try and tackle litter. we will also decide on how we are going to achieve them.

3. Measuring success

 A large part of our Action Plan will be devising a way of measuring whether or not we are being successful. We are already monitoring our "Litter Black Spot" - hopefully the amount of litter here will decrease!

4. Maintenance The most difficult thing for us will be keeping the litter away permanently. We have no direct control over the people who come to the National Park and leave the litter behind them. We'll just have to make them realise that it is not acceptable to drop litter or leave cans, bottles and wrappers behind on the ground after they have finished with them.

Litter Questionnaire

As part of our audit a litter survey was carried out by students and staff in the Knockreer Demesne to try and find out the views of people on litter in this part of the National Park. the main findings are shown below in fig 1.


Litter Black Spots

We have also identified a number of "litter black spots" in the area of the National Park close to the Education Centre.

We are currently monitoring these sites, collecting the litter from them and categorising the types of litter that we find.

Below are some of the areas of litter that we found.

The types of waste at the "Litter Black Spots" have been categorised into Food Packaging, Beverage, Paper, Cardboard, Discarded Food, Cigarette Related, Other random items.

The "Food Packaging" and "Beverage" categories were the two which were represented the most at our "Litter Black Spots" (see fig 2 below)

We are now busy devising our "Action Plan". We will keep you updated as things progress...

This is the work we did for our first Green Flag - Biodiversity.