Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 1 November 2014

Frank Mitchell: Lifting litter is an obsession with me

UTV broadcaster has found everything from a Bible to a pile of porn mags

Frank Mitchell taking part in the Big Spring Clean

Broadcaster Frank Mitchell has described how he was told off for missing a bit of litter by a holidaymaker who mistook him for a council worker.

As tens of thousands of people across Northern Ireland join forces to clean up their area as part of our Big Spring Clean campaign, the popular UTV figure admits clearing up rubbish is something of an obsession – and he takes his trailer out to do a litter-pick more than 20 times every year.

"There's a little bit of waste ground near where I live where people started to throw bags of bin liners. But once you clean it up, people stop throwing stuff there."

On one memorable occasion Frank was told by a cigar-smoking holidaymaker relaxing in a deckchair on a Donegal beach that he had missed a bit.

In the course of his litter forays, the U105 presenter has found everything from a discarded Bible to a pile of porn mags, and even pieces of jewellery.

Frank reveals he goes out litter-picking about 10-12 times every summer and about once a month in winter.

Frank thinks the seeds of his litter-picking habit were sown in his youth when he would visit his auntie in Grianan, Co Down.

"I spent a lot of time on the farm where my aunt and uncles were very much into keeping the place spick and span. I've been out with the litter-pickers since Adam was a boy," he explained.

"I'm always impressed by the community spirit that the organisers of a clean-up like that have," he added.

Last year the Big Spring Clean – a joint effort between the Belfast Telegraph, Tidy NI and DoE Rethink Waste – mobilised an incredible 26,000 volunteers who lifted 163 tonnes of litter, equivalent to 23 double decker buses. This year we've set ourselves an even tougher target – getting 50,000 people involved in cleaning up litter hotspots in our towns and countryside.

Background

Joining in the Big Spring Clean is easy. All you need to do is register an event or join an existing event online at www.bigspringcleanni.org, order your free clean-up kit and get stuck in. Your local council will help by supplying additional kit and will collect the rubbish gathered. The website has your council's contact details. For more information, check out the website, email info@bigspringcleanni.org or, if you are not on the internet, contact Tidy Northern Ireland directly on 028 9073 6920.

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