Councillors have criticised “disgusting” scenes of littering at a beauty spot in the Lisburn and Castlereagh area.
They spoke out after pictures on social media showed plastic bags and bottles strewn around Duncan’s Dam.
Others images showed a swan eating a plastic bag and feeding beside a discarded bottle.
Alliance councillor Sorcha Eastwood, who posted the pictures, said the scenes disgusted her and added littering had been a problem for some time.
“I asked the council months ago to get the ranger to bring the canoe down to try and get some of the rubbish out of the water. They did it last week and its been great,” she explained.
“Unfortunately, within a matter of days, the rubbish had accumulated again at the weir, which is where the swans are pictured trying to eat bags. They were also trying to eat smaller bits of plastic that couldn’t be picked up in the photo.
“These beautiful birds are in danger of choking on bag handles. The micro-plastics that break down from the items are (also) slowly poisoning them.”
SDLP councillor John Catney said he would be raising the matter with the council.
“Up for the big clean-up... with the Friends of Duncan’s Dam group (and) just look at some of the stuff we found — disgusting dumping.
“I’ll be talking to Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council and the other agencies about what more we can do to stop this repeat problem and help to make this spot the best it can be.”
The council said the dam would be cleaned at the end of the month.
A spokesperson added: “The area in and around Duncan’s Dam is cleaned and cleared of litter by council staff several times per week. Staff also use long-reach poles and canoes to retrieve more difficult-to-reach litter periodically. The most recent such clean was two weeks ago.
“An in-depth clean of Duncan’s Dam is planned before the end of March. It will involve clearing the waterflow through the dam.
“We have also been engaging with and supporting a group of local volunteers called the Friends of Duncan’s Dam, who at the weekend gathered 30 bags of litter from the site.
“Such acts by local volunteer groups are welcomed. We would encourage further initiatives across the council area.
“Our parks and green spaces are for the enjoyment of everyone. We work hard to keep them clean and safe and to protect the animals that inhabit them.
“We would ask everyone to respect these beautiful areas when visiting by taking their litter home or putting it in the bins provided.”