Date: 15 Jun 2023
Dog waste remains a foul issue in Belfast, but the city’s schoolchildren are on the owners’ cases to clean it up!
Belfast City Council recently reached out to P5-P7 school classes across the city, inviting pupils to respond to the Billboard Challenge to help highlight the issue of dog fouling in their communities.
Over 56 entries poster designs were submitted from 18 schools and the four winning entries from St Anne’s Primary School in Finaghy, John Paul II PS, Whiterock Road, Strandtown PS and Hazelwood Integrated Primary School have now been displayed on giant billboards near their schools.
Participating schools also received a visit from the council’s education awareness team who chatted to pupils about the problems dog poo can cause and highlighted why it’s so important for everyone to clean up after their pets, each and every time.
Councillor Micheal Donnelly, Deputy Chair of Belfast City Council’s People and Communities Committee, said: “We know how strongly our residents feel about the persistent issue of dog fouling and the problems it causes within local communities, so we’re working hard as a council to encourage responsible dog ownership through both education initiatives and enforcement.
“Sadly though, there are still far too many owners who leave their dog’s mess for someone else to clean up. Not only do they risk a £80 fine, but they’re also causing a real problem for their friends and neighbours, particularly outside our schools, where children are often having to navigate dog poo when they’re walking or cycling to school.
“I’d like to congratulate all the young people who took the time to engage with our environmental outreach workshops and respond so creatively to the Billboard Challenge, highlighting the issue as they see it. And special congratulations go to the four lucky teams who are getting to see their billboards on display in their local neighbourhoods.”
Mr O'Boyle, teacher of the winning John Paul 11 Primary School student, commented: “Our P6 pupils are delighted to have won the Billboard Challenge competition and see their artwork proudly displayed. It’s great to encourage their creativity, whilst teaching valuable lessons around civic responsibility. Thank you to Belfast City Council for the brilliant initiative and invitation to visit the billboard.”
Amy Glover from Strandtown Primary School said: "The children in my class thoroughly enjoyed working together to create a persuasive and eye-catching design for the billboard. When they were told their design had won, they were over the moon! They were so excited to go and see their work up in our local area and said this was the most rewarding art task they have ever completed in school!"
Teacher Ramona Breslin, from Hazelwood Integrated Primary School, added: “Our P5 pupils said they loved taking part in the Billboard Challenge and they were shocked to learn about how hazardous dog fouling can be for humans and how big a problem is for our local communities.
“One of our competition winners, Abbie (age 9) was so excited, she’s taken her whole family to see it and she’s hoping that lots of passers-by will see it and think twice about leaving dog dirt on the footpaths."
The Billboard Challenge is one of a number of education and awareness initiatives undertaken by Belfast City Council to encourage responsible dog ownership and make it clear to dog owners that it’s #YourDogYourJob to help keep the city clean.
For more information about the council’s work to tackle dog fouling, visit www.belfastcity.gov.uk/dogfouling