Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council have signed up to a thirst-quenching scheme which makes it the first n Northern Ireland to install Ecofill contactless water filling stations along its shorelines, in a new initiative to tackle marine litter and plastic waste. It is hoped that the project will save around 65,000 plastic bottles every year.
The Borough’s new refill stations, as well as new solar bins and community litter pick boards, have been funded through a grant of £40,000 from the Live Here Love Here Marine Litter Capital Grants Scheme which is funded by the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs.
The Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey Councillor Billy Webb explained how the project will help reduce litter caused by single use plastic drinks packaging, as well helping to prevent it entering the marine environment;
The Mayor said;
“The funding has enabled the Council to install four dedicated contactless Water Refill Stations, 14 Solar Powered Compressor Bins and four #2minute Litter Pick Boards in Antrim Loughshore, Antrim Castle Gardens, Jordanstown Loughshore Park and Hazelbank Park Whiteabbey. The new solar powered compressor bins reduce street litter collections by up to 90% and the #2minute Litter Pick Boards supply passers-by with litter pickers, reusable bags and sanitiser so they can do a quick litter pick while they’re visiting the area, which in turn stops it getting into the water.
‘We are proud to be the first Council in Northern Ireland to install the Ecofill Water Refill stations in our marine areas. An inbuilt digital water flow meter analysis of how much water is consumed is showing hundreds of bottles saved in just the first few weeks of installation. Our Council’s aim is to provide environmentally sustainable solutions and get our residents and visitors excited to keep our beautiful scenic areas waste free for all to enjoy, ultimately improving waterways and the marine environment for local people.”
The Marine Litter Capital Grants, which received applications between June and September, were open to any organisation with responsibilities for managing free-to-access public open space. Funded projects were required to demonstrate innovative, creative or functional approaches to prevent litter reaching the marine environment. With 80% of marine litter originating from land-based activities, grants were distributed across all geographical areas of Northern Ireland to meet the scale of the challenge.
Helen Tomb, Live Here Love Here Manager commented:
“It’s been a great pleasure to support Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council as one of our projects this year through Live Here Love Here’s Marine Litter Capital Grants Scheme. This is a brilliant chance for people to access the capital they need to look after their local marine environment and help it flourish in the future. As always, we extend our thanks to all the generous and hard-working volunteers who give their free time to help keep Northern Ireland beautiful. We encourage as many groups as possible to reach out to us if they want to ‘Live Here Love Here’.”
For further information on the Marine Litter Capital Grants Scheme, visit www.liveherelovehere.org.