Sunday 8 December 2019

Eco aware pupils turn on the tap to replace plastic bottles

Concubhar Ó Liatháin

When the senior pupils of Canon Sheehan Primary School calculated that the colossal figure of 23,000 single-use plastic water bottles were being used in the school at Turnpike in Doneraile, they knew something had to be done.

The school has teamed up with Cork County Council to install a water bottle filling station at the school and the refill station was opened this week by County Mayor, Councillor Christopher O'Sullivan. 

"We, the fifth and sixth class pupils in Canon Sheehan Primary School were concerned about the amount of single-use plastic bottles used throughout the school year.

"It amounted to over 23,000 bottles and these end up in the bin at home or at school. This is avoidable and something we wished to change.

"The impact of plastics on our planet is terrible. It ends up in the oceans, on roadsides or in the ground."

Now north Cork's student eco warriors are encouraging other Cork schools to follow their lead.

The electronic water filler, funded by Cork County Council, is located in the school corridor making it easy for the 128 pupils and 12 staff members to refill their reusable bottles throughout the day. As part of the initiative the pupils also approached businesses in Doneraile to register on the Tap Map.

The Refill Ireland initiative aims to avoid unnecessary single use plastic drinking water bottle waste, by facilitating people to refill for free at more than 850 public refill locations nationally. 

Cork County Council is actively encouraging businesses to register on the tap map, with over 100 companies signed up throughout the Cork County to date. 

Mayor O'Sullivan had high praise for the pupils of Canon Sheehan Primary School: "It's great to see the proactive approach of these students. 

"As a Green School they are really leading the way. We can be very proud of our county too with 58% of schools in Cork awarded green flag status, a figure well ahead of the national average.

"I hope this pilot encourages other schools, especially those with meal programmes to consider following suit as there is potential to work with the Council on delivering similar schemes."