Mermaid on rubbish heap and reusable bar cups as Derry’s Maritime Festival goes green

A mermaid on a heap of ocean rubbish, a show taking people inside a whale and a spirit draped in waste dumped in the sea will be among the characters bringing a key environmental message to Derry’s Maritime Festival next month.

By The Newsroom
Friday, 17th June 2022, 1:57 pm

Reusable branded bar cups, and metal trays and cutlery at food stalls will also be dished out while there will be interactive workshops for children with Fergal the Shark.

Members of Derry & Strabane Council’s Environment & Regeneration Committee have given their approval for the implementation of the waste prevention programme at the festival, to be funded under the Department for Communities (DfC) COVID financial losses funding to the tune of around £46,965.

Conor Canning, Head of Environment, said: “Council has been working on a range of internal cross departmental projects to also help effect positive changes. One of these projects has been greening our festivals and events. Officers have researched best practice in this area and have developed an indicative checklist to apply to our festivals and events programme. 

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The stalls at the Maritime Festival in Derry.

“All elements of the festival/event are considered including venue, transportation, food and drinks, energy, waste management, marketing and water. Many of the elements are being piloted as part of the Foyle Maritime Festival in July.”

He continued: “The Foyle Maritime Festival presents an ideal opportunity to deliver a bespoke programme of waste prevention messaging through entertainment, activities, displays, and animation. It is estimated that the festival will attract in excess of 150,000 attendees over five days. 

“The Foyle Maritime Festival theme is ‘What Lies Beneath’ and from an environmental perspective enables the council to promote specific messaging on waste prevention as we continue to emerge from the Covid 19 pandemic. The animation and displays for this content is in addition to positive endeavours towards greening the festival itself.”

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Detritus of the Deep meanwhile comes in the form of a strange spirit, draped head to toe, embodied and bound by human waste found at the depths of the ocean. The animation is a stilt walking visual display which communicates the problems our waste is creating in the ocean. 

Whale Show – Plastic Ocean costing £12,000 – This animation invites the audience to step inside the Whale and experience a funny and interactive show which will highlight the impact plastic has on our environment through a series of fun learning and theatrical experiences.

Science of the Sea costing £10,000 – This programme will deliver a range of engaging and interactive workshops with an environmental focus where children and their parents can ‘Take the Pledge’ to do one thing. For example, Fergal the LegenDerry Shark will be appearing in a special Derry version of City to Sea where one of the pledges children will be asked to take will be to turn the tap off when they clean their teeth – just like Fergal does. The Council will incorporate five simple actions people can take at home to prevent waste.

Reusable cups, trays etc costing  £9,000 – This includes branded cups for the bar (quantity 5,500), metal trays and cutlery for food stands. This dinnerware/ vessel return scheme has proved successful on a micro-pilot scale during the Slow Food Festival in 2019. It has been done at festivals across Europe with the aim of sparking conversation amongst customers about reuse. It will also significantly reduce litter levels at the festivals, reducing pressure on cleansing staff. 

People Before Profit Councillor Maeve O’Neill welcomed the report describing it as a ‘positive step’ with regards to the council’s festivals and events.

Members approved the total indicative costs of the dedicated programme on waste prevention at the Foyle Maritime Festival festival of £46,965. They also agreed that costs are recouped from the Department for Communities COVID financial losses funding.

By Gillian Anderson

Local Democracy Reporter