POSITIVE RESULTS: Cork County Council begins campaign to tackle CHEWING GUM LITTER

31 May 2017
By Bryan T. Smyth

Campaign is changing people’s behaviour towards gum disposal

The 2017 Gum Litter Taskforce (GLT) gum litter education campaign was launched in Fermoy Town last week by County Mayor Cllr Seamus McGrath.

Mayor of the County of Cork Seamus McGrath is from Carrigaline

This annual campaign is a huge success to date in changing the public’s behaviour to gum disposal and in encouraging correct gum disposal through a targeted education awareness campaign. Research commissioned by Gum Litter Taskforce (GLT) in 2016 reports that 93% of people agree that dropping gum is littering and almost six in seven people (84%) claiming they always dispose of their gum correctly.

The campaign invites communities up and down the County to get involved in. It unites communities in a common goal to responsibly dispose of chewing gum and continue to contribute in a positive way in protection the wonderful amenities of our environment in Cork County.

The local authority is the largest in Ireland

Each year in Cork County the campaign seeks to educate people on the correct disposal of gum and while we have seen very positive results to date, we want to continue encouraging a positive behaviour change amongst the small minority who are still disposing of gum incorrectly.

The latest research results highlighted a significant increase in those who say they never drop gum which points towards the success of the campaign since its inception at targeting younger people who are taking the message home with them and into households across Ireland. Today’s event in Fermoy supports the recent national launch today and is just one element of this nationwide campaign which also includes a national advertising campaign and a schools education programme, called “ Bin It!”
This is the third year of the latest campaign, the result of an agreement between the Department of Communications, Climate Action and the Environment and Food Drink Ireland (FDI) representing the gum industry, to fund a national gum litter awareness programme from 2015-2017.

Environmental campaigns in Cork County are enshrined in the Councils’ Environmental Awareness Strategy 2016-2017. Cork County is the only Local Authority to have a dedicated environmental awareness strategy, the current one is the 3rd in the series with each covering 5 year periods. The first strategy was launched in 2006. These strategies are adopted by the SPCs for Environment between 2006-2020.

File photo of Dr Mary Stack (2nd from left) at another cleanliness event in Cork last month – The launch of the 2017 National Spring Clean Campaign at Cobh Heritage Centre. Also included )in relation to that initiative) are, Louis Duffy, Director of Service, Environment Dept. CCC, Dr Mary Stack, CCC, Ruth Ring Chairperson Cobh Tidy Town committee and Cllr. Anthony Barry. Photo: Billy macGill

Dr Mary Stack of the Environmental Awareness and Education Unit of Cork County Council works with the 360 schools in Cork County and the Tidy Towns communities groups.

Dr Stack states “that through programmes like the Green Flag over 360 schools across Cork are studying the impacts of litter on their environment. National campaigns emphasising the correct disposal of gum supports the youth environmental initiatives run by environmental awareness officers across the Country”.

The theme of 2017 advertising campaign is “Bin your gum when you’re done”, the campaign includes:
• A four month mass media advertising campaign (TV, outdoor, print and online)
• A schools education programme aimed at first year secondary school students called “Bin It!” and takes place in schools each Autumn. Support materials and tools for teachers to download and integrate into lesson plans on the Web site (www.chewitbinit.com)
• Dedicated GLT website – http://www.gumlittertaskforce.ie/
• Distribution of Point-of-Sale materials to over 1,000 retailers around the country
• Sponsorship of three awards in the TidyTowns competition

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