Environment Minister Edwin Poots has been urged to set up a special clean-up day to tackle the litter blighting Northern Ireland.
Trevor Ringland, Conservatives and Unionists candidate for East Belfast, said a UUP motion calling for the introduction of a Tidy Northern Ireland Day is another step towards tackling the littering scourge that is “afflicting our beautiful landscape”.
The motion will be brought to the Assembly on May 4 and is about “unleashing the power of the people”, he said.
“The Big Spring Clean-up campaign is an excellent way to get our communities involved in improving their environment. We all have a part to play in tackling this issue, and with the necessary support and enthusiasm we can all enjoy the benefits.
“Now the Ulster Unionist Party, through its motion calling on the Minister of the Environment to sponsor a Tidy Northern Ireland Day, is able to take this campaign to the next level. This motion will be brought to the Assembly on May 4, and will seek to get councils on-board in encouraging communities across Northern Ireland to get actively involved in tackling litter and improving their local areas. Conservatives and Unionists join Tidy Northern Ireland in recognising the need for a sense of social responsibility if we are to achieve a litter-free, sustainable Northern Ireland.
“It is essential that we empower our communities to take control of their own destiny; to tackle the ingrained issues that challenge social harmony.
“We need mass engagement rather than overcompensation by the state.
“This is about unleashing the power of the people — recruiting and encouraging people on the ground to get stuck in to improving neighbourhoods. We need a big society, rather than big government, if we are to effect real, meaningful and lasting change.”
Ian Humphreys, director of Tidy Northern Ireland, said: “We know that tackling environmental crime and changing people’s anti-social behaviour is a high priority for the Minister and fully support the call for a Tidy Northern Ireland Day of action to highlight the often year-round efforts of people who take real pride in the places they live and who send a clear message to the louts that their behaviour is simply not acceptable. In this way we can all play our part in keeping Northern Ireland beautiful.”