These images show how the Belfast Telegraph helped to clear up a roadside eyesore on the fringes of Poleglass as part of our Big Clean-Up campaign.
We teamed up with Conservation Volunteers Northern Ireland to clear up a path where waste packaging, burnt pallets and rolls of wire had been dumped.
The remains of a fire at the site at the top of St Kieran’s Lane next to Collinwell Road suggested it had been used to extract copper from the wire in an illegal process that can release noxious chemicals into the environment. The DoE confirmed that it is illegal to burn waste in this way as it is likely to be harmful to the environment under the Clean Air Act.
The site is one of a hitlist of ‘grot spots’ the Belfast Telegraph identified when we were launching our Big Clean-Up campaign two weeks ago. We are declaring war on litter in a bid to get the eyesores that are blighting our environment cleaned up and to inspire the public to take action themselves.
Some of the sites we identified were neglected sites where thoughtless people have ditched food and drink containers; others were beaches where a daily dose of detritus is washed up on each tide; while many have been blighted by serious fly-tipping.
Our Big Clean-Up has already won the support of Environment Minister Edwin Poots and four of the sites highlighted have now been cleaned up.
The community litter wardens we worked with are employed by CVNI and funded by Belfast Regeneration Office to clear up rubbish on some 130 acres of land around Poleglass.
Warden Sean McKenna said that while burnt pallets, cardboard boxes and packaging filler were among the items found, the presence of the wire casing suggested the site had been used to salvage copper for scrap metal.
“It’s been a site where people were burning scrap wire and leaving the burnt plastic here,” he said.
“They are also burning tyres and that releases pollutants into the environment as well. The oil seeps down into the soil which could cause a problem as there is a waterworks very close to here.
“There is also a school and Sally Gardens Community Centre at the bottom of the lane — children could get harmful substances on their skin as well. They could get covered in oil and tar.
“This plastic also tends to smoulder for a long time — that poses a health and safety hazard for people living around here and anyone who is walking a pet.”
Sean Devine, manager of the nearby Sally Gardens Community Centre, promised that if anyone is having difficulty getting rid of rubbish they can contact the centre for help.
“There are several environmental projects running in the area — Conservation Volunteers, Colin in Bloom and Lisburn City Council are all putting a lot of effort into the physical enhancement of the Colin part of the area,” he said.
“I would say to anyone thinking of burning wire or dumping rubbish that there have been numerous schemes put in place for litter to be dumped.
“If they are stuck, phone the community centre and we can liaise with Lisburn City Council and get it moved.
“We have a very young population in this area and in all likelihood if people dump rubbish it will be a place where young people are running about.
“There is a lot of wildlife in this area — squirrels, foxes, birds. We are asking people to be a bit more sensible and sensitive to the environment.”
We want the public to Iet us know about litter hotspots and keep us posted about their own efforts by contacting us at firstname.lastname@example.org.