The sun has come out, the snowdrops are appearing from the grass and something else is emerging from beneath the coat of ice as spring arrives — broken bottles, drinks cans, plastic bags and worse.
Many of the litter hotspots peppering Northern Ireland have grown worse over the long winter months — and that’s why we’re calling on our readers to embark on a Big Spring Clean.
Since November we’ve been tackling the ‘grot spots’ that are blighting our towns and countryside as part of our Big Clean-Up campaign — and it’s been a tough battle through the most miserable months of the year.
But now that the days are getting longer and the spring sunshine is bathing the landscape, we’re calling on our readers to embark on a major push to clean up their areas.
We have joined forces with TIDY Northern Ireland to launch the Big Spring Clean. From April 16 to 25 Northern Ireland will be given a makeover to freshen up those grimy street corners, beaches, fields and roadsides ready for everyone to enjoy in the summer.
TIDY NI recently revealed that our councils are having to spend some £30m of ratepayers’ money every year just to keep on top of the mess.
We are sounding the call for a ‘Green Army’ of ordinary people to roll up their sleeves, don gloves and litter-pickers and start filling binbags with the rubbish that is making their neighbourhoods look unsightly.
For the next few weeks we will celebrate the litter heroes that are doing it for themselves and clearing up the mess that thoughtless neighbours are discarding.
All you have to do is gather a few like-minded people, choose a site that sorely needs a good ‘redding out’ and join the big push by registering your event online in the Big Spring Clean section of the Tidy NI website at www.tidynorthernireland.org/big-spring-clean .
We’re asking schools, businesses and youth and community groups to get involved to organising a local clean-up — it’s your chance to send a clear message to the litter louts that their behaviour is unacceptable.
Belfast Telegraph editor Mike Gilson said: “We know our readers care about their environment and quality of life.
“We believe there is a huge untapped groundswell of passionate people who are sick of living with filth on their doorsteps.
“That is why we want to mobilise a Green Army of ordinary people across Northern Ireland and tap into their energy and initiative so that they can transform their environment.”
Dr Ian Humphreys, chief executive of TIDY Northern Ireland, is calling for people to change their behaviour.
“This campaign by the Belfast Telegraph is a fantastic opportunity for people to send a clear message to litterers to clean up their act and stop costing us a fortune,” he said.
OUR MANIFESTO:We want to get the eyesores that are blighting Northern Ireland cleaned up.
WHAT WE WILL DO:We will document the litter hotspots you highlight and ask the authorities to take immediate action.
WHAT YOU CAN DO: Email the details of what you have found to bigcleanup@ belfasttelegraph.co.uk. Or write to us at Newsdesk, Belfast Telegraph, 124-144 Royal Avenue, Belfast BT1 1EB
? Let us know what you and your community are doing