Community Action Day

Students from a particular school went to their local open market and started distributing cloth bags (sponsored by money from the Litter Less Campaign) to the people shopping there. They spoke to the shoppers encouraging to BIN THE PLASTIC BAG and shift to reusable bags instead. 


Community Action Day

As part of Community Action Day, Naamat High school produced postcards with pictures taken by the students as part of the YRE program. On the back of the postcard is an explanation of the image and an invitation to the public to photograph and document environmental protection. The students passed through the city explaining the project and distributing the postcards.

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The National Winners' Workshop

The national winners’ workshop was held on April the 26th at the Gredos San Diego school in Buitrago de Lozoya, a small town located in the Madrid Mountain Range. A total of 134 Eco-School students and Young Reporters participated, among which were the 12 winners in each of the YRE-LLC categories. The workshop began at 11.00 with a didactic hike through the lake and pine forest of Buitrago de Lozoya.

The first activity was the realization of a photographic marathon with the slogan Litter Less Campaign. During the trail the students took photographs of the waste found in the field and were collecting it to deposit it in the containers at the entrance of the park. The monitors carried out a series of environmental education activities and talked on the environmental and patrimonial values of the surrounding environment.

Later, a professional photographer, Pablo Rodriguez (BeOnStudio & Agencia EFE), gave a talk about photojournalism. He explained his own experience as a reporter in various international conflicts and in the making of nature documentaries. He also gave them a brief introduction to how a news agency works and gave a whole series of basic concepts and tips for the realization of photography and video. The workshop was very successful and the students asked him many questions. After the talk, the awards ceremony was held for each group of winning students in each of the categories. The audience could see each of the videos, photos and winning articles and their authors explained their motivations and why they had chosen those topics. The act concluded with the gift, by ADEAC, of the prizes for each of the winning groups.

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In Wales we had an amazing opportunity to organise a secondary schools event as part of the Volvo Ocean Race Stopover in Cardiff. This is a massive event and the focus this year was marine litter and the devastation it is causing to our oceans. This fitted in extremely well with the YRE Litter Less programme. We decided to organise a Big Schools Day aimed at secondary school Eco-Schools and made the YRE National Winners Workshop a part of that event. This meant that we could promote YRE to a wide audience of secondary schools throughout Wales, YRE participants would be highlighted through the award presentation and the students would be able to participate in a high-profile event. The event consisted of a number of talks and presentations in the morning with a focus around what we can do as individuals to make a difference. It included:

  • The Blowfish - The World's only Heavy Metal Marine Biologist 
  • Daniel Schaffer, CEO of FEE - Highlighted the work of FEE including Eco-Schools and YRE.
  • Joanna Friedli, Training And Development Coordinator at Keep Wales Tidy - Presented the YRE award winners with their certificates and announced that Wales had won the international prize for Article 11-14

In the afternoon, a number of interactive workshops took place including sessions from the Marine Conservation Society, Zero Waste Cardiff, Skye Academy and Matthew Swaine (Course Director of International Journalism at Cardiff University and YRE Jury Member) on 'How to Write and Communicate Your Environmental Story’.

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Article written by the 1st Johnston Scout Group:

‘Scout Group feeling on top of the world’

Despite a 6:30am start, we were all really excited to be travelling to the ‘Big Eco-Schools Day’ at the Volvo Ocean Race in Cardiff on 6th June. This was part of our prize for winning first place in the National Young Reporters for the Environment Litter Less Campaign run by Keep Wales Tidy.

As a Group, we met a few times before the day to talk about the kind of questions we might want to ask some of people speaking there such as the CEO of Foundation for Environmental Education Daniel Schaffer, and heavy metal marine biologist ‘Blowfish’. We arrived at the day with our press passes, notebooks and pens, feeling like proper environmental reporters!

Going up on stage as a team to receive our national award was very rewarding, but we had an even bigger surprise to find out that we had won the International competition too. That was amazing, and so good to know someone was listening to what we were saying about the plight of the gannets on Grassholm.

While we were at the event, we had the opportunity to interview several influential people including Daniel Schaeffer, CEO of the FEE. We asked him how he thought people can best be educated about marine litter, and how we can get older people to care. He said it was very complex, that people have to make a sacrifice, and we need tools and space to sort the problem out. He felt that young people coming to events like the one we were at and getting involved in YRE is important, but that television programmes such as Blue Planet and the news, can be good sources of raising awareness of the issue for adults.

He also acknowledged that consuming fish which have eaten plastic and therefore entering the human food chain is a huge problem.

Educating people about marine litter is very complex, they have to make a sacrifice, and we need tools and space to sort the problem out.” Daniel Schaffer, CEO of FEE.

We also met and interviewed Welsh Assembly Minister for the Environment Hannah Blythyn.  We asked whether she thought the Fishing for Litter scheme could be introduced in Wales. She hadn’t heard of it but said it sounded like a good idea and she may suggest it in the next Assembly meeting. That was great to hear!

We asked her what she thought the government could do to introduce alternative materials other than plastic into the fishing industry. She said she recognises how difficult it might be for fishermen to replace their equipment with something other than plastic but that the Assembly government may be able to look in to alternative materials. We really hope this happens because it could make such a difference to marine life, and especially our gannets on Grassholm.

At the end of the activities and interviews, we had a tour of the village. It was amazing to see all the racing boats and learn a bit about them by going inside a model that had been cut open. It was great to see the Turn the Tide on Plastic boat come sailing in to Cardiff and to think how far they’ve travelled.  There was a huge model whale made out of plastic which was encouraging people to #PassOnPlastic  - we felt really inspired to see that we can make a difference in our everyday lives by using materials other than plastic, and by making sure that things don’t end up in the ocean.

Overall, we had a brilliant day. It was informative, educational and inspiring. To have our hard work and effort rewarded by winning the International competition left us feeling on top of the world! We have lots of ideas for taking forward the practical ways to make a difference to reducing marine litter in our oceans, and can’t wait to tell everyone about that.


Beeswax wrappers invented by YRE school in New Zealand

Students from Ao Tawhiti Unlimited Discovery school who developed and produced lunch wrappers made from beeswax went to their city’s university to share their ideas and products to encourage others to think about how they can make the packaging in their lunches more sustainable.  The university is considering using and promoting their products to their students.  Another local school which was not involved in YRE this year heard about this initiative and has now introduced a sustainable lunch box programme at their school.  This is a great example of how a great idea can spread throughout a community and grow.



Baulkham Hills Community Action Day (renamed Recycling Action Day) in Australia

The Recycling Action Day was focused on tackling the issue of recycling and fostering environmental awareness within today’s youth. The event complemented a report released by a group of students for the YRE competition, where they investigated the issue of excessive littering and its correlation with inadequate recycling. The BHHS Green Group then proposed solutions to overcome this issue, focusing on increasing communication to students while also proposing the implementation of a newer, more sophisticated recycling system.  The school believes that these goals can be achieved with greater effectiveness with the Local Council (The Hills Shire Council) and State Governmental support and that through collaboration, we can develop a mindset with sustainability at the forefront of the youth’s goals.

As part of the Recycling Action Day's programme, Baulkham Hills High School made a presentation composed by our students as a part of a seminar from 1:00-2:00 pm, which informed students and community members about the issue and how they plan to overcome it. Students outlined their findings from the research they conducted as part of the YRE competition and the beneficial reverberations of support from organisations such the Hills Shire Council and the NSW Government.  At the Recycling Action Day, students talked about how discourse can prevail towards improving local sustainability for an increasingly environmentally friendly community.



Importance of the litter clean up highlighted by the school in New Zealand

Kristin school had students come up with idea of adopting a tree each within the surrounding reserve area.  Each student researched information about their particular tree and looked after it by ensuring that there was no litter in the surrounding area.  Students held a clean up event in the local reserve where they picked up litter and learnt about the endemic species living in and around the stream environment.  YRE students spoke to the wider school about the importance of ensuring the environment is kept litter free.  We believe this is a good example of highlighting how  small actions can have huge positive consequences.  Each student from year 8 caring for just one tree, (ensuring it was litter free, measuring its height and trunk width, placing fresh mulch on it) meant that the entire surrounding school area was beautified and environmentally improved.

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Marine Litter Problem in Malta

St Augustine College is working on marine litter, microplastics, litter during village festivals, and recycling.  Students are working on videos to help spread awareness and encourage people to litter less.  An open day was held at the school where all parents were invited to the various activities in the school, and litter less was one of them. They exhibited their work (in progress) and spoke to parents about the issue. 

During  Science in the City students also took feedback from the general public by asking what their contribution was towards reducing litter and they will be including all in their videos.



How to Save the Monachil River in Spain

Students of the Public School of Sierra Nevada have begun an investigation to save the Monachil River. The students of the CEIP Ski-School of Sierra Nevada have started a research process to determine the state of the Monachil River and the prevalence of the ski station in the quality of its waters and surrounding life. The young reporters, along with their teachers, have also had the collaboration of the Department of Environment of the City of Monachil, which has provided materials and invited a biologist to talkd about the river. The conclusions of this study will be presented in May.



School Christmas Market in Spain

One school designed the campaign so that they carried it out on the following days: December 19, 20 and 22. First day: They held a Barter Market where students exchanged objects they did not need, a complimentary coin of their own was used. Second day: The Christmas Market: They were selling gifts made with recycled materials. Third day: They held workshops on recycling, reduction, and reuse. They taught how to properly separate waste for the youngest students.  They held awareness talks and a waste reuse workshop.



Ulidia Integrated College from Northern Ireland Focuses on Plastic Oceans.

Ulidia Integrated College, Carrickfergus, who won a YRE International Collaboration prize last year are focusing on plastic litter in the ocean this year. They are working again with Lycee Pole School in Madagascar. Both schools are situated near the coast and the issue of plastic in the oceans has a local as well as global resonance.

To date the Ulidia eco team have researched plastic ocean waste and watched 'Message in the Waves' a documentary which is based on plastic waste in Hawaii. The eco team watched the BBC’s ‘Blue Planet II” which had a fantastic episode about plastic pollution at the end of the series. The eco team have arranged a joint coastal litter picking event for January 2018 with a local primary school which will coincide with a similar pick in Madagascar in the same week. The results from the picks will then be compared and contrasted using numeracy skills in February. The eco team have been enjoying incorporating YRE into Media Studies and English lessons to further develop their skills base.



Litter Free Lunches for a Litter Free Future

Litter is a serious problem and has detrimental effects on local ecosystems. In Coláiste Íosagáin, because we are an environment in which food is being consumed, we face a constant struggle with litter. To combat this everyday, at least one group of four or five people take ten minutes to go around the school and pick up waste that has been left behind. Mostly the food litter comprises food packages, cling film, tin foil or biodegradable

food waste. However this is simply managing the symptoms of our litter problem, not the cause. Our school has an over-reliance on non recyclable food packaging and does not have the knowledge to properly dispose of it. This is apparent after seeing poorly separated, overflowing green and black bins.

This behaviour is unsustainable and prompted us to find a solution to our packaging problem. Within our group we borrowed inspiration from the ‘YRE Litter Less’ competition and a litter free lunch competition we entered while at an eco conference. In short, we decided to begin a litter free lunch campaign of our own.

The idea is to encourage students to bring in litter free lunches and by doing this take a moment to think about the environmental impact that their actions have on our planet as a whole. We have chosen the first year students as our focus group. In this way they will hopefully carry this new knowledge with them throughout their years in Coláiste Íosagáin.

We planned an action week from the thirteenth to the sixteenth of March and began to spread the information among the first year students.

Before the project a delegate from the Green Committee took time to visit each of the first year classes to explain the project to them. During this time we explained the competition. Each day during the following week a delegate visits their class to track how many people participated by bringing in ‘litter free lunches.’ We defined a litter free lunch, as a lunch that was free from non recyclable waste, with an exception made for biodegradable food waste (for example apple cores). These numbers were then be totalled to see which class made the biggest effort to be litter free. This class will be given a prize. Participation was voluntary of course, but we felt the inclusion of a prize would be a reasonable incentive.

After the four days we collected our results. Class A brought in 25 ‘litter free lunches’ throughout the week with an average 6.25 litter free lunches per day. Class B brought in 19 ‘litter free lunches’ throughout the week, averaging at 4.75 per day, and Class C brought in 22 ‘litter free lunches’ throughout three days, averaging at 7.3 litter free lunches per day. As Class C missed a day, a direct comparison is not possible. However if we only count the first three days. Class A and Class C are thus tied for totals and averages.

 While these numbers are small, they carry a hopeful message. They show the interest that people have in taking small steps towards a greener lifestyle. Although not everyone participated, everyone gained a new insight into how small actions can have big consequences both positive and negative. In future we hope to spread this project to a larger group of students in the school.

To raise awareness of this issue we have used social media (the school’s twitter account) to show the efforts that students made to contribute to our litter free lunch campaign. Currently we are contacting both The Dundrum Gazette and Raidio na Life to spread awareness amongst a wider audience.

However while the results of our project may not yet have saved the earth, they are definitely a start and show encouraging signs for a litter free future in our school!


Clean up the Green + Dunk da Junk

 It will come as no surprise to many that litter continues to be a major environmental issue on the island of Ireland with “cigarettes and chewing gum” being the main offenders. Although most Irish towns and cities are now in line with or even above European norms, an IBAL national litter survey in 2016 stated that unacceptable levels of littering persists in certain areas of towns and cities. IBAL spokesman, Conor Horgan said: “While our city centres are generally well maintained, disadvantaged areas continue to be the source of much of the litter in our country.” 

With these facts in mind, we started thinking about how, we, at Ballinteer Community School could make a difference. It’s not like we are new to working to combat litter and waste. Our school has only recently received its first Green Flag. The more we thought about it, the more we realised that any project we carried out would have to have two aspects – one for our school and one for our community.

We set about researching two litter problems - one internal to our school as well as one external our school.

First of all, we looked at making contact with Broadford Area Residents Association as the estate is right beside us but then we discovered that they were only recently the overall winner in Tidy Districts Competition in 2015. 3. On the basis of ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” we looked to the other side of the school and discovered that Hillview estate might be an area that could do with a helping hand. And this was indeed the case, as we discovered when we met up with Katie Foy (community worker) and Pat Graydon (member of the Estate Management Forum). They said that Hillview had been “the most improved estate” the previous year but that there was still a lot of work to do. They explained that the main causes of the problem were the social deprivation in the area, the lack of bins at the lower end of the estate and the fact that a high percentage of the residents are teenagers, some of whom tend to be less conscientious when it comes to disposing of their litter. Having said all that, they also said that much of the litter comes from people using the area as a ‘through-way’ to get to other destinations. They told us that the litter problem is at its worst after big occasions like Christmas, Halloween and New Year’s. Even factors like windy days can add to the problem as bins are knocked over. Although there is a monthly general tidy-up on the last Saturday of every month, residents say the problem persists.

We could see from our research that we had our work cut out for us. As a result, with the help of the Hillview Resource Centre we organised a clean-up day for Tuesday 21st March 2017. Twenty BCS students visited the Hillview estate from 9:00 am until midday, armed with gloves, litter-pickers and DLRCoCo refuse sacks. We made a bee-line for the litter hotspots such as cul-de-sacs, the playing fields and the fences that catch all the rubbish blown to the bottom end of the estate. We even recovered a broken bicycle seat and half a football boot from the bushes nearby! In all we filled approx. 17 sacks of mixed refuse, which we parked in two different locations for collection (as identified by Martin, the caretaker). Many students also spoke with interested local residents about the need to take pride in one’s area.

We then turned our attention towards the litter problem in our own school. Audits had been completed in the recent past for our Green Schools bid and recycle bins had been placed in every classroom as well as the General Purpose Area. However, problems persisted, especially in the GPA. We decided to interview the caretaker, Mr Hughes, to find out his thoughts on the issue and how the situation could be improved.

He told us that although the GPA has a wide variety of bins for different types of waste, the students were simply not using them because they were neither ‘motivated’ nor ‘inspired’ to use them.

We thought about this and agreed that what we needed was something ‘urban’, something that would ‘capture the imagination’ and one of our team hit upon it: Dunk da Junk. The concept was simple: it is common to see students in schools testing their sporting skills by ‘dunking’ waste paper in classroom bins. Why not extend this to a larger bin, designed to look like a basketball hoop, net and back-board? Plans were drawn up by some of our handy Transition Year students, and, with a little help from our metalwork and woodwork teachers we fashioned a bin that turned our vision into a reality.

And it’s been successful. Since it has been installed in the GPA our caretakers Don, Yong and Carmel have seen an estimated 30% decrease in litter at morning and lunch breaks.

We have now publicised our project across a variety different media platforms – our school Facebook account 4, our school Twitter account 5 and the Dundrum Gazette 6. So far, we have received positive responses and even some enquiries.

To conclude, this project has increased our awareness of the problem of littering in our locality. We realise that although clean-ups improve the situation, it is best to tackle the problem through prevention at source, by attempting to change the thoughts and habits of both residents and students. If residents and students take pride in their areas, then the problem of litter will solve itself – not just in Ballinteer but across the globe.




All the stages of the campaign were very interesting and stimulating, but the most memorable moment was the dissemination of the campaign’s products towards the children's parents and representatives of the local community. Each of the participants presented his product to the audience, he/she explained how he/she made it and on what purpose. The students were very enthusiastic in teaching their parents the lesson of saving nature by collecting waste material selectively and presenting them the real damage caused to the environment by careless people. They showed to the audience the results of their investigation and the solutions they proposed. The photos, models, clothes made from waste material and articles were very appreciated by the parents and the representatives of the local community and the children were very proud of their work.



The dissemination of the Litter Less Campaign took place in the school and in the local community on 28th of March 2017. The activity was held in the school's festivity hall.

All the 53 students involved, organized in 17 teams, the 3 coordinators, the school principal, the teachers, parents, as well as pupils from other classes that were interested in the project, participated in the community action day.

The Litter Less Project 2016-2017 was presented, the school that are involved, the national coordinator, the steps taken in the project implementation, the selection of students, designating the teams, the materials made by all the 17 groups of students and also Power Point presentations.

The activity was made by organizing an exhibition with all the photos captured by students following their own investigations; Each team, through their representatives, presented their own environmental investigations, with the negative issues that were identified in our community, with the solutions they proposed in their own journalistic studies (articles); All products closely followed the theme of Litter Less; Pupils answered the questions of the other participants in the activity; At the same time, the video slideshow of the photos and the videos made by the students were presented at the video projector.

The sources where the dissemination took place were presented, but also the methods in which all the materials were made were brought to the attention of the school, local and national community.


Mládežnícka elementary school in Púchov organized the local Community Action Day on April 27, 2017. The event was organized as Zelený jarmok (green fair) in the pedestrian zone of Púchov. In total, 25 ecologically-oriented info-stands and workshops for children were open to visitors. The aim was to show that children are deeply concerned about the environment. Participants of the Green Fair: five Primary Schools, two Secondary Schools, Technical University from Trenčín, Chmelinec Social Services Center, and Včielka school environmental club. Pupils focused especially on composting and the recycled art.

 A well-known Slovak singer Peter Bažík was the main attraction of the CAD. Based on the lyrics written by a student Martin Opat, Peter composed the music. The song has become "The Hymn of the Green Fair”, and it has been presented on the stage – students together with the singer – for three times. Concert of Peter Bažík attracted to the event more than 500 participants, in spite of rainy and cold weather. If everything goes well, the song will be sampled in the studio soon .


The Young reporters from Gymnázium Školská organized their first Community Action Day on April 26, 2017. They focused on the youngest ones: children from three kindergartens and three elementary schools took part.

First, YRE program was introduced, then pupils tried sorting out the waste properly. Kids also became familiar with the story of a beverage can. Finally, old beverage cans were used to make a memorial objedct.

Part of the students worked in the schoolyard. They cleaned it from artificial and biological waste. Another group of students created an artistic work from used yogurt caps. As a result, a nice image of a fish floating between the corals has been created.

The whole day was shot by the camera that was purchased for this purpose. The video made by a YR Adriána Henčeková has been accepted by the regional TV Reduta


The first containers for the collection of plastic wastes appeared in residential areas of the city of Taraz this year. "The collected garbage is sent for processing to Kostanay and Chelyabinsk, where polyester fiber is used for the production of synthetic materials (holofiber, sintepon) for agriculture, medicine and road construction," says the director of KazEcology, Eldar Malayev.
Students of Secondary school №38 named after 30 years of Victory took an active part in the promotion of waste sorting. In the framework of the Litter Less Campaign, Eco-committee of the school headed by Madina Bisengaliyeva, the director of this educational institution, together with the "KazEcology" company  has done extensive work in the school, microdistrict and city. The students not only arranged the sorting of plastic and paper in their school, but also agitated the inhabitants of the 2nd microdistrict and the whole city, stuck out leaflets, explained how important is to preserve the cleanliness of the environment.


S. Seyfullin Secondary School (Burabay village),  which joined this year's Litter Less campaign, was a meeting place for participants from other schools: L. Tolstoy School-Gymnasium #4 and Y. Gagarin Secondary school from Stepnogorsk city. In addition, other schools, who are not participants of the YRE programme yet, but are interested in it, were invited to the meeting: Chshuchinsk secondary schools № 1, 2 and 6, Zelenoborsk school and Okazhetpes school.
At this meeting, YRE students and teacher shared experience  and result of their work in Litter Less campaign , as well as conducted training workshops for students of different age. The primary school students learned to create a filter for water from improvised means, students of 5-7 grades were involved in active game and the older ones discussed the topic "The ideal reporter, the ideal article, the perfect photo and video" during workshop conducted by students and teachers from L. Tolstoy School-Gymnasium #4 .
 "Throughout the event, there was a feeling of benevolence, openness, attention genuine interest, activity and enthusiasm of children in the performance of tasks," -  Viktor Maslov, one of workshop leaser, expressed his opinion on the event.