Belfast Telegraph

New bins are a load of rubbish: Council bird-brains rapped as seagulls rifle receptacles

The litter plucked out of the bins by birds lies all over the place
The litter plucked out of the bins by birds lies all over the place
The litter plucked out of the bins by birds lies all over the place
The litter plucked out of the bins by birds lies all over the place

By Linda Stewart

Litter louts transformed the beautiful beaches of the north coast into a dump last year – this summer it's the fault of the crows and seagulls.

The cheeky birds are responsible for dragging litter stashed in bins along Portrush's promenade and scattering it far and wide in hopes of finding a tasty morsel.

These images taken by a Belfast Telegraph reader show the ugly mess blighting the public walkway along the East Strand – and she claimed Coleraine council was responsible because it failed to install bird-proof bins when it was regenerating the seafront.

Tourists this week were horrified to walk through a littered promenade to get to the beach, she added.

"People make a conscious effort to put their litter in bins but the crows and seagulls pull all the litter out and it goes everywhere," she said.

"This happens most mornings, it's not a new thing. There were four birds doing it when I was there.

"I met two American tourists who were staying in Portrush, and they were saying: 'Look at the mess of this place'. I met another woman from Portstewart and she said the bins were the same there, so she decided to come to Portrush for a walk.

"This problem could be easily solved if the correct bins were provided with lids.

"What is the purpose of spending millions to boost tourism when what tourists see will result in a statement such as 'Lovely people and great activities, but very dirty country'?"

The reader said the bins throughout the north coast had been provided for design purposes rather than being practical.

"The regeneration was the perfect opportunity to put in the correct bins, which is what was asked for, and it was never done," she said.

Coleraine Borough Council said it had recently completed East Strand as part of a regeneration scheme for Portrush.

"Bin collections take place early each morning in that area and the rubbish has been collected," a spokesperson said.

"Council is addressing the design of the bins in that location, however council urges the public to take rubbish home and to not leave it on the ground around a full bin before departing."

Katy Jenkins of Keep NI Beautiful said it was vital it was kept as clean and tidy as possible.

"As a Blue Flag Award winning beach, Portrush meets high environmental management standards, meaning that issues like this are dealt with promptly once reported," she said.

Winged parasites feeding on our folly

It used to be that gulls were an attraction on the north coast. They are part of the marketing and thousands go every year to watch them on Rathlin’s cliffs.

But the blighters are evolving into predators and scavengers on our waste, not just in the seaside towns but in the cities, too.

There's no way of explaining to them that they are supposed to be concentrating their dive-bombing efforts on mackerel and herring out in the briny.

It is our waste, our burgers, our sandwiches and teabags, our unfinished bags of chips stuffed in bins they want.

They know exactly where to go. They don't know that L-I-T-T-E-R does not spell ‘gull food'.

Councils will have to devise ways of dealing with them.

I don't expect it to be easy for them. They can't shoot them.

They are parasites on our own indulgence, but fending them off with buckshot, littering the beaches with bodies, would be terribly upsetting for people.

This is a clash between civilisation and raw nature. In the wild, these creatures skim the waves and take their chances.

It is we who ordered this world so that we don't hunt. Our food comes in polystyrene.

They want a share. Rummaging our bins is easier than scouring the seas in wind and rain.

We must stop them, whether with lidded bins or wardens with clangers or whatever.

But then what?

Will, they just give up and return to the cold Atlantic? I doubt it. They will come after us. They are massing in the skies like frenzied vermin.

This is war.

Belfast Telegraph


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