The “outstanding team effort” of skaters at Carrick Skate Park has been praised after their role in tackling litter that was previously blighting the attraction.
A group has been heralded for their proactivity in reducing waste at the park and increasing awareness of the detrimental impact littering can have on the local environment.
Their efforts were led by Larne skater Steven Devlin, who approached Council in March 2021 to express his concerns about littering at Carrick Skate Park. Keen to encourage a sense of pride and ownership by the park users and raise awareness about environmental pollution, Steven partnered with Mid and East Antrim Borough Council do develop a pilot scheme to tackle the issue.
“The pilot involved Council’s Parks staff ceasing cleansing the skate park, with the exception of broken glass and any other dangerous items,” Steven explained. “Council installed several additional bins to ensure that park users had every opportunity to do the right thing and bin their rubbish, and signage was also erected to encourage park users to engage.”
Steven visited the park several times a week for months, lifting litter himself and encouraging others to get involved – with Council officers also visiting the site regularly to help the skaters to understand what the pilot was about.
Council also undertook an online survey with the skate park users to determine the source and reason for litter and explore ways in which this could be remedied. A compositional analysis of litter collected concluded that plastic drinks bottles and aluminium drink cans were the main source of litter at the park.
In response to this, a recycling bin with dedicated sections for plastic bottles and cans was installed at the park by Council, encouraging park users to recycle, where possible, as well as binning their litter.
Councillor Lauren Gray, who has been working with the group, said: “The users of Carrick Skate park have shown real dedication to cleaning up their park and have even gone the extra mile by purchasing their own brush to ensure the ramps and pathways are kept clear of any debris.
“This is a fantastic example of just how engaged our young people are with their local surroundings across the borough. Led by Steven and supported by Council, their outstanding team effort has had a hugely positive impact on the park. We are very proud of the work they’ve done to make this space clean and safe for citizens and visitors to Mid and East Antrim.”
Steven added: “Our skaters are role models for the wider public and should be praised for what they have achieved at Carrick Skate Park, thanks to the ongoing support of Mid and East Antrim Borough Council. We can learn a lot from this and adopt ideas to help with littering and environmental issues in future.”