Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 30 August 2014

Taking the booze bottle out of St Patrick's Day

A group of volunteers are making it their mission to reduce glass bottle-related violence on Belfast's streets this St Patrick's Day.

The Bottle Out campaign, now in its third year aims to save lives and prevent alcohol-related glass injuries.

Set up by Trish Morgan, the group is campaigning to have glass banned in nightclubs and bars where anti-social behaviour is rife and promote the use of plastic bottles and cups.

This St Patrick's Day teams of volunteers will be hitting the city's streets with recycling bags to pick up glass bottles, particularly in the Holylands area.

If it is anything like last year, when teams removed 5,000 bottles from the streets, they will have their work cut out.

This year, the group made up of members of City Church Belfast is getting the backing of Queen's University's Students' Union as well as voluntary ministry team, Street Pastors.

The Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety estimates alcohol misuse costs up to £900m every year.

One survey showed that out of 116 alcohol-related attendances at a Belfast accident and emergency department, 13 were attributed to glass-related injuries.

Campaign co-ordinator Barton Creeth said a glass bottle on the street "is a weapon in reach".

"Research demonstrates that switching from glass to plastic in bars and nightclubs significantly reduces the severity of alcohol-related violence," he said.

"We are looking for volunteers to join the cause and come out and help us get as many bottles as possible off the streets."

For more information log on to bottleout.org or go the Bottle Out Facebook page.

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