A LOCAL sports club is doing its bit for the environment by encouraging the reduction of plastic litter among its members and players.
Strabane Sigersons was recently selected as one of 45 pilot clubs taking part in the GAA Green Club programme, as part of the North West Green Club Working Group collaborating with Derry City and Strabane District Council, Donegal County Council, Sustainable NI, Ulster GAA and the Northern Ireland Environment Agency.
The club will participate in a 12-month programme to help understand how the GAA can help tackle climate change and environmental issues.
Sigersons have also expanded the Green Club initiative to encompass the Dermot Earley Youth Leadership Programme.
This involves youth members in developing strategies and plans to improve the local environment focussing on the themes of sustainable energy and waste reduction.
Ideas will help structure the club's Green Action Plan which has begun with the planting of trees on club grounds recently.
Now in its latest initiative the club has announced a restriction on the use of single use plastic at its home ground - Sigerson Park.
The commitment was disclosed in a joint statement issued by Liam Sweeney, club chairman, Ciaran McLaughlin, Green Club officer and Mark Walsh Tackling Single Use Plastics officer.
"Sigersons GAA want to tackle our plastic litter problem," they said.
"Many of you will be aware that a huge amount of plastic water bottles and general litter are being left behind after practices and matches.
"Littering is damaging our beautiful natural environment and killing local wildlife.
"As a club, we want to make a positive impact by tackling this plastic pollution problem. Our young people look to us for guidance and we would like to lead by example."
The statement continued: "To help with this, the Green Club Committee will be developing greater awareness of the plastic pollution problem and what we can do to be part of the solution.
"We hope this will influence positive changes that reduce Sigersons GAA plastic footprint.
"Plastic is not all bad! It is our misuse of plastic that’s the problem. We pointlessly use plastics every day.
"Most of it is thrown away within just a few minutes of use.
"Many plastics end up in landfills or in the environment and can take up to a thousand years to break down.
"Our misuse of plastic is crippling our environment, killing wildlife, and damaging our health.
"It's up to every business, every organisation, every school, every individual to tackle and find ways to reduce our use of pointless plastic.
"Sigersons GAA Club committee have decided to restrict the use of single use plastic.
"This will be phased into the club with the intention that by June 1 all members will bring reusable sports bottles to the club."
The club is asking all members to lead by example and ensure they only use a reusable bottle also, with future updates to be posted on its social media pages.