Belfast Telegraph

Untwisting the strand: Bangor pupils clear beach of litter and marine debris

By Linda Stewart

In the balmy heat of Saturday afternoon pupils from Bangor Grammar and Glenlola Collegiate joined forces to give scenic Ballyholme Beach a good tidying.

A gathering of over 50 pupils donned high-visibility vests and picked up litter while another group painted over graffiti on buildings near the marina.

As part of Tidy Northern Ireland’s Big Spring Clean, backed by the Belfast Telegraph, the group were also joined by police officers based in Bangor who were keen to lend a hand to the trusty litter heroes with the support of North Down Borough Council.

Most of the rubbish collected consisted of broken glass, fishing nets and small bits of plastic that had probably been washed up on the beach.

The type of waste highlights that it’s not just beach users but also boat owners who need to think carefully about removing their waste once they dock at a marina, instead of dumping rubbish overboard without a thought as to where currents will take it.

As the students from Glenlola collected litter they also carried out a litter survey along the mile of golden sand, to find out the types of litter and its origins.

They carried out this study as part of their Eco-Schools Green Flag award.

Jacquie Milligan, Eco-Schools coordinator at Glenlola, said: “It is great to encourage young people to take notice of environmental issues, not just in the school, but in the wider community.”

Karen Sheil, education development officer for the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, said: “RSPB are very impressed with the initiatives the school has employed to reduce litter in the marine environment, working with North Down Borough Council and the local community.”

Patricia Magee, campaign officer at Tidy NI, said it was great |to see young people getting involved in cleaning up their environment.

She said: “The students made a tremendous effort in cleaning Ballyholme Beach and have taken it upon themselves to study the types of waste in order to reach the sources of marine litter.”

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