Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 31 July 2014

Visit of Olympic torch relay sparks beauty spot clean-up

Glenariff Clean Up. Patricia with children - Oisin and Daire Mort; John Fyffe, Seanie McIntosh and Finton McAuley

Villagers have carried out a clean sweep of Glenariff in preparation for the Olympic torch passing through.

They gathered around 50 bags of rubbish as they scoured the scenic Glens of Antrim beach, surrounding area and river banks as part of the Big Spring Clean.

The campaign is a joint push by the Belfast Telegraph, Tidy Northern Ireland and DOE Rethink Waste to persuade tens of thousands of people to tackle the litter blighting their areas.

Among the rubbish found by Glenariff Improvement Group and pupils from St Patrick’s Primary School in the coastal village were a television aerial, tent poles, metal poles and a barrel used as an anchor at a yacht club.

Glenariff Improvement Group secretary Theresa McGaughey said: “It’s a mile-long beach. We’re proud of our beach and we like to keep it as tidy as we can.

“Like any place, it’s visited regularly and we do get a lot of litter. We also had a recent period with a strong east wind and a lot of plastic litter washed up on to the beach from Red Bay.

“We would tend to get a lot of day trippers. We don’t have as many bins as we should have in the car park and litter is just dumped and thrown into the river.

“There are some trees along the river and young people use that area for recreational purposes so there was some litter to be picked up there.”

And the work didn’t just stop at clearing up litter. The team also tackled some vacant houses in the villages which are showing signs of wear and tear.

“There are weeds growing up along the front of those buildings so we tackled that in our clean-up as well,” Theresa said.

“Among the items we found were a TV aerial, a gas bottle and some tent poles — somebody abandoned the poles that keep up the tents.

“The council came and took everything away the next morning,” Theresa added.

The Olympic torch will be passing through the Antrim village on June 3 as part of its tour around the British Isles ahead of the London 2012 Games which begin on July 27.

It will be carried on the Glenariff leg of the tour by Ballymena man, 50-year-old David Boyle, who is a community development officer in Randalstown.

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