Belfast Telegraph

Big Spring Clean: Dashing into action ... the teams stemming a tide of litter north and south

By Linda Stewart

Litter eyesores in the four corners of Ireland have been swept clean of rubbish as the Belfast Telegraph's Big Spring Clean teams rolled up their sleeves alongside their southern counterparts.

The cross-border effort saw groups in four different parts of Ireland give their areas a spruce-up. The clean-ups were carried out in Rathlin, Millisle on the Ards Peninsula, Cork and Meath.

The Belfast Telegraph has teamed up with Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful and DoE Rethink Waste to galvanise 100,000 people across Northern Ireland to tackle litter this spring as part of our Big Spring Clean. The National Spring Clean in the Republic is organised by An Taisce.

Volunteers who turned out for the Rathlin Development and Community Association filled a lorry provided by Moyle District Council with an array of rope, plastic and metal debris.

On the Ards Peninsula, volunteers from Millisle Youth Forum, Millisle Orange Lodge, Millisle Mums Against Dog Doo and Millisle and District Community Association scoured the village, lagoon, beach front and community garden. They cleared away a fridge, a metal post and filled a carrier bag with dog dirt.

In Ballywalter, the entire stretch of beach was cleaned from the car park at the Kilns to Sandend Caravan Park. Work was carried out by Ballywalter Action Group, local residents and a group of visiting geocachers who dubbed the activity a 'Cache In, Trash Out' event to combine their hobby with some litter-picking.

They found a fish box, some plastic containers and two large coils of twine. It's thought the litter had been washed ashore in the winter storms as much of it was above the high tide mark.

Portavogie and Cloughey have beach cleans planned over the next few weeks and Millisle and Ballywalter are already planning their summer beach blitzes.

With just two weeks left, we are urging people across Northern Ireland to sign up now for the Big Spring Clean. Anyone who wishes to organise a clean-up can register at www.bigspringcleanni.org. Registration is free and all participants are issued with a free clean-up kit to help promote and carry out their event.

FACTFILE: HOW TO JOIN IN

Last year more than 50,000 people across Northern Ireland got involved in our Big Spring Clean, together collecting the same weight in rubbish as 26 adult African elephants. This year the aim is to galvanise 100,000 volunteers. To find out more and receive your free clean-up kit, contact Nicola Murray at Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful, email nicola.murray@ keepnorthernirelandbeautiful.org or call 028 9073 6924.

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