The youth of Barry take action against litter in Vale of Glamorgan

When members of Barry Youth Action raised concerns about litter in their area ruining school routes and diminishing the sense of pride in their town, it became a top priority to involve the local community and begin taking steps to resolve the issue.

Members voted for the issue of littering to be one of the group’s main three priorities for the year ahead in September 2016 and a task group was formed. Four main secondary schools were identified as an area of focus and these were:

  • Barry Comprehensive
  • Bryn Hafren
  • St Richard Gwyn
  • Ysgol Gymraeg Bro Morgannwg

In a report compiled by Barry Youth Action, they stated that “Barry Youth Action voted for this issue as one of their main priorities because they feel it is important to ensure Barry is litter free so everyone can live in a town they can feel a sense of pride in. As Barry Youth Action is a group representing the views of young people, we chose to look at routes around secondary schools because a lot of rubbish is generated to and from school by young people.”

To start the project, members began their investigation by doing walks to identify the routes used to get to the schools where the bins were located and where the problem litter areas were. They also paid close attention to bus stops used by pupils.

Members meticulously recorded their findings on maps, marking bins and litter to identify the areas of concern. The report also states that ‘during a promotional visit to 11th Barry Sea Scouts members consulted young people on Barry Youth Action’s main priorities.’

The consultation with young people of Barry resulted in a list of suggestions to tackle the waste problem. These included litter picking, an increase in litter bins, signs and camera’s.

The findings of the investigation suggested that there is an adequate number of bins in certain areas but not others and there was a desire to implement more. There was a direct correlation between the number of bins and the amount of litter in public areas.

As a result of these findings, Barry Youth Action proposed three possible solutions to the problem.

The three suggestions were outlined in the report:

  • Eco-committees
    • Firstly, members decided to send a copy of the report to the eco-committees in the four secondary schools and (if there isn’t an eco-committee) to the school council to inform them of the work and ask for their supporting encouraging more pupils to use the bins on routes to schools.
  • Make bins more attractive
    • Where there are enough bins, eg. Barry Comprehensive and Ysgol Gymraeg Bro Morgannwg, Barry Youth Action would like to make the bins more noticeable which might help encourage people to use them. Ideas include replacing the bins with different designs such as the talking bins or updating the existing bins with bright patterns and catchy slogans.
  • Place bins in more convenient places
    • Members believe that some bins that were identified were out of sight. If these bins were moved to more suitable places, this would encourage people to use them. Members also agreed that some routes would benefit from additional bins.

Wybone, a family run business that was established in 1969 worked with the group who decided to design their own colourful artwork to be applied to two new bins as a way of trialling the additional bins and bringing awareness to littering. Barry Youth Action spent lots of time thinking about the artwork, trying to incorporate the standard ‘litter’ text with the theme of ‘Barry’.

When asked why they chose Wybone to help with the project, Bethan Watkins from Barry Youth Action answered, “The young people from Barry Youth Action contacted the Cleansing Superintendent at the Council to learn more about bins and asked for his support on the project. He’s worked with Wybone before and recommended you.”

The bins have been met with a positive response, with Barry Youth Action now working alongside the Vale of Glamorgan Council to have them purchased and sited in the suggested locations to help keep Barry tidy!

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Nathan Spackman

Nathan is the Operations Director at Bro Radio. You'll hear him reading local news, hosting at local events and presenting our facebook live videos.