You would expect to see litter dumped on derelict inner city sites — but as TV personality Lynda Bryans knows all too well, some of our worst litter hotspots are quiet country roads.
The former UTV broadcaster lives in the countryside near Belfast and has plenty of experience of how those scenic winding lanes provide the perfect spot for unscrupulous fly-tippers to surreptitiously ditch their filth.
Lynda has added her voice to the calls for Northern Ireland to clean up its act in the Big Spring Clean campaign.
The Belfast Telegraph has teamed up with Tidy NI to persuade people in schools, churches, youth organisations, sports groups and businesses to get involved in litter picks this April.
Lynda describes hearing how potential investors had arrived at the airport but ended up leaving with a bad impression after seeing all the litter strewn along the roadside on the way into town.
“I hate it. Round the corner from us somebody dumped a whole pile of old tyres a few weeks ago. It looked disgusting, really,” she said. “A lot of people are quite selfish, and, rather than waiting until the dump is open to dispose of it responsibly, they decide to throw it by the road thinking the council will pick it up.
“I notice it all the time. I was born and brought up in a country area, and my mum and dad live not far away on a main road. People often get a takeaway in the nearest town and by the time they get to my parents’ house they have finished it and thrown the wrapper out of the window — so the road near their house will be littered with this packaging.
“I really do think the food outlets need to take some responsibility as well.”
She believes fines are an ineffective deterrent. “There are already fines in place for people who don’t dispose of their litter responsibly. But do you ever open the paper and see a picture of somebody who has been fined for stubbing out cigarettes or throwing out their fast food wrapper?
“You are trying to get people to come to Northern Ireland, then in summertime you go to some of these local beaches and people have left the detritus of their barbecue behind.
“I don’t know how you get people to take collective ownership of Northern Ireland plc.”
How you can join in
Step 1: Know of an area that needs cleaned up?
Step 2: Do you and your neighbours want to help out?
Step 3: Contact us at... firstname.lastname@example.org