Limerick ‘picker pals’ take a stand against litter

Mayor Daniel Butler and Picker Pals creator Patrick Jackson with the Picker Pals in Patrickswell National School at the campaign launch.

PRIMARY school children in Limerick City and County are taking a stand against litter in their local areas, through a unique school-based litter-picking programme called Picker Pals.

The programme, run by environmental group VOICE (Voice of Irish Concern for the Environment), fosters ideas to care for the environment and equips children with “Picker Packs” containing everything they need to go litter-picking.

Children take it in turns to bring the pack home and lead a litter-picking adventure in their local area. They then share their achievements with their classmates and teachers.

There are fun story books about the Picker Pals characters, a song and lots of great classroom learning activities for the children to do as they become young environmentalists. There is even a Picker Pals TV channel delivered free directly to the classes on the programme.

Limerick City and County Council has funded 20 primary schools on the programme this year. Combined with the schools sponsored by the Department of the Environment, this brings the total number of Limerick Picker Pals classrooms to 59.

Sign up for the weekly Limerick Post newsletter

Mayor Daniel Butler said the Picker Pals initiative will complement the various other anti-litter campaigns including Team Limerick Clean Up, the An Taisce Green Schools Programme and the ‘Leave no Trace ‘initiative.

Picker Pals creator Patrick Jackson said the campaign was not just about learning or becoming aware of litter it’s about getting out there and picking up litter.

“Picker Pals gets children onto the first rung of the environmental ladder,” he added.

Patrickswell National School Principal David Bulfin said any initiative that encourages children to look after the local community and have pride in their community was worthwhile.

“The children have really enjoyed taking part in Picker Pals and love the hands-on nature of the initiative. We look forward to taking part over the next few months and are sure that the habits and knowledge picked up in Picker Pals lessons will stay with the children as they grow older.”

This year 30,100 children from every county are taking part in the programme. With their families working alongside them, this will result in 75,000 people getting out litter-picking with huge benefits to themselves and their neighbourhoods.

This will remove over 150 tonnes of waste from the environment as well as raising awareness and showing people of all generations that they can actually do something to make a difference.