SEAI award Donegal student project to tackle plastic pollution

Published by Aoife Cusack on

May 17th, 2018

Twenty teams battled it out in the final of the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland’s tenth annual One Good Idea competition this week.

The competition began in 2008 with the mentality that it just takes one good idea to make a difference. The aim is to inspire lifestyle changes to save energy and help tackle climate change.

This year, over 200 campaigns were developed by young people all over Ireland. Students from every corner of the country came together for the National final that took place in Printworks, Dublin Castle.

And this year it was a team from Errigal College in Co Donegal that bagged the win –  or in this case, bottled it.

The overall winning campaign Bottle It was devised by the students to tackle plastic pollution and reduce energy use.

The Errigal students took to the stage for their colourful presentation, some dressed up as plastic bottles, others dressed as fish and described how plastic ends up in the oceans and the disastrous effects it has on sea life.

Knowing that more than three million tonnes of plastic go into landfill across the world each year, the students were inspired to make a change.

They aim to reduce their waste and make Errigal College completely plastic free by encouraging other students to use BPA free reusable bottles and to refill water bottles instead of buying more.

The students and their teacher, Ms Catriona Hasson, were presented with a trophy on stage and congratulated for the fantastic campaign.

bin plastic

Photo: RitaE

Ms Hasson said: “The students put in an incredible amount of work to raise awareness of the drastic impact plastic is having on our environment.

“They organised an information day in our local shopping centre, reached out to local businesses and organisations for support, and spoke about the issue on local radio.

“One Good Idea is a great opportunity for us to get our message out to the wider community, learn a lot and make a difference in Letterkenny.”

Five other awards were presented at the final, including Senior Post Primary Winner ‘Rewind, Rewear, Remodel’ from Coláiste Mhicíl in Limerick; and Junior Post Primary Winner ‘Food Fanatics’ from Meánscoil Gharman in Wexford.

The competition encourages students to create innovative campaigns that can make a big difference in schools, homes and communities to how we use energy in our daily lives.

In ten years over 7,000 students have taken part in the competition and campaigners have reached more than one million children, teenagers and adults.

Speaking at the final, Jim Gannon, Chief Executive of the SEAI, said: “One Good Idea empowers our young people, encourages leadership and gives them a chance to have their voice heard in the national conversation we are having around climate change.

“Young people learn by example, so thank you for the great example you are setting our younger generations,” he added.

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Aoife Cusack

Aoife is a final year journalism and Irish student at DCU. She appreciates the environment, the Irish language and a good cup of coffee.