Belfast Telegraph

Tackling a mountain of litter: Sperrins spruce-up fills 90 rubbish bags... three of them with dead animals

By Linda Stewart

Hundreds of volunteers have scoured 20km of roads in the Sperrins, gathering a spectacular 90 bags of litter as part of our Big Spring Clean campaign.

Among the haul were a number of hidden prizes — but also a few less than welcome surprises, including three bags filled with dead animals.

Some 220 adults and children donned reflective vests to spring clean the glen of Glenullin in south Londonderry as part of the local GAA club’s annual litter pick.

They covered 20km of roads around the glen as part of Big Spring Clean week, which is running from April 8-17 in partnership with Tidy Northern Ireland and DoE Rethink Waste.

Organiser Donna Rainey said the haul included three bin liners full of empty milk cartons, dead animals tied up in three plastic bags, 20 bags of discarded peat that had been thrown over the edge of the road and a wealth of drinks and takeaway containers.

“This was the biggest clean-up yet. People felt there was less rubbish this year than when they did it before,” she said.

Hidden prizes, including lottery tickets and vouchers for coal, were placed along strategic parts of the route and claimed on the group’s return to Glenullin GAA hall, where everyone enjoyed tea and sandwiches served up by the camogie team.

Each of the 130 children who took part received an Easter egg and treats.

Club secretary and organiser Gerard O’Kane thanked everyone for their help and encouraged people to try and lift any litter they see whilst out walking, to help maintain the roads in a pristine condition.

Tidy Northern Ireland board member Martina Hanna, who took part, said: “The enthusiasm of the community in Glenullin is an example to everyone. The effort they put into keeping the area tidy allows everyone to benefit from its beauty.”

Meanwhile, full marks go to Cookstown Primary School, whose pupils have organised a clean-up for every day this week.

Not only that, but they have bombarded the town’s shops with a poster campaign, held a special Assembly on litter and some are even taking the litter pickers home to carry out further clean-ups in their local area.

School eco co-ordinator Lorraine McErlane said: “They’ve found a broken chair, a football, two cricket balls, a pair of socks and a lot of drink bottles.”

Tidy NI director Ian Humphreys, who took part in the clean-up, said: “The pupils have been going out every day this week and have been targeting different areas of the school grounds every day.

“They have so much enthusiasm about it — they’re really getting stuck in and they’re not worried about anything. Yesterday they found a blanket, part of a TV and a lot of plastic bottles, cigarette packets, crisp packets and bottles and cans.

“Yesterday we watched somebody throw something down, realise what we were doing, and pick it up again.”

It’s not too late to join the Big Spring Clean — just visit www.|tidynorthernireland.org/big-spring-clean for details.

Belfast Telegraph

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph