Eleven Waterford secondary schools were represented at a reception in City Hall earlier this week, in recognition of their dedication to keeping their local areas litter-free.
The Waterford Schools Litter Challenge, sponsored by Tom Murphy Car Sales Volkswagen, in association with Waterford City and County Council and Waterford Chamber saw secondary schools from across the city and county partake in the challenge.
St Augustine’s College Dungarvan emerged as the overall winner of the Schools Litter Challenge, and received €1,500 prize money, sponsored by Tom Murphy Car Sales Volkswagen.
The competition, which was launched in October by Mayor of Waterford City and County Cllr. Joe Conway encouraged secondary schools to keep a designated local area litter free.  The students then carried out regular litter picking, identifying black spots for litter in their area, learning about the sources of litter, and about the benefits of using reusable items instead of single use items.
Prior to the awarding of certificates to the participating schools, Mayor of Waterford City and County, Cllr. Joe Conway said, “The Waterford Schools Litter Challenge has now ended for another year, but I sincerely hope that its influence has not. 

“Seeing you all out in our communities in your high-visibility vests with your litter pickers and black bags in hand, taking responsibility for cleaning up the mess that others have made, will hopefully have made others more conscious of the impact of dropping litter.  

“Your local communities are much nicer places to spend time in as a result of your hard work, not to mention safer places for both people and wildlife.”

The mayor added, “Initiatives like these couldn’t take place without the support of great local businesses.  I’d like to thank Tom and the team at Tom Murphy Car Sales Volkswagen for sponsoring this wonderful event and for taking the time to be with us here with us today.”

Tom Murphy, sponsor of the competition prize money for the third year, echoed the mayor’s sentiments, “We are once again delighted to be involved in this initiative. All of the schools approached the challenge with enthusiasm, willingness and good humour!

“The fruits of their labour have not gone unnoticed, with a very apparent decrease in litter and debris in the designated areas.  We were also delighted to receive many reports of how impressed the local communities were when they saw the students out litter picking.”
Waterford City and County Council provided bags, gloves, litter pickers and high visibility vests to all schools and Tom Murphy Volkswagen sponsored the €1,500 prize for the winning school. 
The secondary schools from across County Waterford that entered the competition were Blackwater Community School, St Augustine’s College (Overall winner), Ardscoil na nDeise, Meanscoil San Nioclás, Mount Sion CBS Secondary School, Waterpark College, Ursuline Secondary School, Dungarvan CBS, St Declan's Community College, De La Salle College, Abbey Community College and St. Paul’s Community College. 
Ella Ryan, Environmental Awareness Officer with Waterford City and County Council commented, “This challenge seems to be going from strength to strength.  Not only does it serve to make young people more cognisant of the detrimental effects of litter, but it also encourages them to act.  These schools’ commitment to cleaner, greener localities and communities has a ripple effect as it make us all want to take action to keep our neighbourhoods litter free.”