Belfast Telegraph

Big Spring Clean: Coronation Street star who took litter bugs to task sweeps in for our campaign

BY LINDA STEWART

Get your litter-pickers out – we need your help.

This year's Big Spring Clean has been officially launched and we're aiming to get 100,000 helpers across Northern Ireland signed up to help.

One of those backing the litter-busting campaign is actor Charlie Lawson, who yesterday described getting into trouble after challenging people who discarded litter.

The former Coronation Street star told 100 delegates at the launch of the Big Spring Clean campaign that Eamonn Holmes was right to criticise the level of litter in Belfast and he stood "shoulder to shoulder" with him.

This spring the campaign is aiming to recruit 100,000 people across Northern Ireland to tackle litter in their towns and countryside. The Big Spring Clean is a partnership between Tidy NI, the Belfast Telegraph and DoE Rethink Waste and is Northern Ireland's biggest clean-up.

Guest of honour Lawson said litter seemed to have been a particular problem in Northern Ireland for years, and everyone can change it.

"There are a few things that get on my wick and litter is one of them," he told guests at Malone House in Belfast. "I'm forever getting into trouble over it."

The Enniskillen-born actor described hitting the front page of a tabloid newspaper a few years ago following an altercation in Glasgow with two students who discarded their chips on the ground.

"I picked it up, deposited it in their faces and made them put it in the bin. I'm not suggesting you all go around and do that," he said.

"Everyone has seen the laybys on the road to Enniskillen where bags of waste are left overflowing at the side of the road. We are all aware of it and if we are aware of it we can change it.

"Eamonn Holmes (who once hit out a litter levels in Belfast) was quite right about litter. He was right and he was right to say it."

Yesterday Tidy NI director Ian Humphreys revealed that the group was rebranding as Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful.

"The new name better reflects the work we already do, clearly states our mission and we believe is a strong rallying call for everyone who loves where they live to get behind," he said.

A host of volunteers and sponsors gathered together earlier this year to create a Big Spring Clean montage for the launch in homage to The Beatles Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album cover, including Environment Minister Mark H Durkan and Lesser Spotted Ulster presenter Joe Mahon.

Mr Durkan backed the launch of the Big Spring Clean campaign, saying: "We all have a responsibility to protect and enhance the environment for the benefit of current and future generations.

"I want to send out a clear message to those who litter our environment – STOP.

"Keeping our society clean of litter will have a significant, positive impact."

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