Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 18 December 2014

You are all litter-ally amazing: 13,608 volunteers lifted 122 tonnes of rubbish during Tele’s campaign

Marine Conservation volunteers help clean up Portmuck Harbour and Carrickfergus at the weekend
Marine Conservation volunteers help clean up Portmuck Harbour and Carrickfergus at the weekend

A green army of more than 13,000 people has backed our Big Spring Clean campaign this April and gathered an incredible 122 tonnes of litter — filling more than 20,000 bin bags.

By anyone’s standards, that’s a major triumph for people power. And it’s a clear message that the activities of the litter louts are simply not acceptable any longer.

The Belfast Telegraph’s Big Spring Clean in partnership with Tidy NI and DoE Rethink Waste has proved the public aren’t prepared to accept the despoiling of our countryside any more — and that they will clear it up themselves if they have to.

Of the 13,608 volunteers who took part in Big Spring Clean week, some 11,736 were pupils staging some 45 clean-up events and gathering 17,604 bags of litter.

They devoted an impressive 20,538 volunteer hours to ridding local beauty spots of 105.6 tonnes of rubbish.

Volunteers and staff from Strangford Lough and Lecale Partnership gathered 18 bags of litter and scaffolding poles in Portaferry in two hours at the weekend.

Meanwhile, the Marine Conservation Volunteers gathered 25 bags of rubbish from Portmuck Harbour and Carrickfergus.

And 50 volunteers organised by the Connswater branch of McDonald’s gathered more than 100 bags of litter from the Connswater River and Comber Greenway.

Belfast Telegraph editor Mike Gilson said he was stunned at the number of volunteers.

“Last year, when we kicked off the campaign, we persuaded more than 2,000 people to organise 57 clean-ups and gather four tonnes of litter. The surge in enthusiasm this spring has been utterly inspirational. Who knows what we will achieve when we come back in spring 2012?” he said.

Patricia Magee, campaign officer, Tidy NI, said: “As the Big Spring Clean campaign finishes for another year, it is touching to know that all the volunteers throughout Northern Ireland are inspiring positive change in their local communities.”

What we found

Dead badger, a decoy mallard, a smoke grenade, many used condoms, 340 bags of dog poo, sheets of zinc, a £5 note, a baby’s dummy, a rugby ball, a Second World War mortar, golf balls, rotting animal remains, champagne, a TV cabinet, a garden chair, a briefcase, a DVD player, shopping trolleys, a pair of glasses, a road sign, a car bumper, a rusty oil drum, two shopping trolleys covered in barnacles and mussels.

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