Mr Simon Coveney T.D., Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government, launched the Global Citizenship Marine Environment theme of An Taisce’s Green-Schools Programme on Monday, November 21.

Speaking in Crosshaven Co. Cork, at the launch, the Minister described the theme as a ground breaking programme and he called it genuinely “world leading” in terms of marine environmental education and raising public awareness.

The Minister said “Green-Schools has done so much to raise the environmental awareness of the children of today and instill in them a strong and active concern for the protection of our environment.”

Referring to the problem of marine litter, he described it as a persistent problem affecting all regions of the world and that it was largely due to poor waste management on land and at sea. “Thus, we can all play a part in helping to reduce the problem by preventing littering and reducing, reusing or recycling items that might otherwise ultimately end up in our seas or on our coasts,” the Minister said.

The Minister also highlighted the trans-boundary nature of the problem saying that Ireland is working hard in co-operation with the EU and other North Eastern Atlantic States, in developing measures to address this issue.

The Minister went on to say that the true success of the Green-Schools programme would be measured not only by the deep care and respect for our environment that it fosters in our young people, but also the drive and commitment to actively change things for better outcomes.  It is confidently hoped that not only will the programme alter student mind-sets and influence positive student behaviour but that the children participating will then become enthusiastic ambassadors influencing their family and friends in turn.

Concluding, the Minister directly addressed the students present saying “you are the future custodians of our planet and I am optimistic that it is in very good hands.”