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Green warriors battle on as campaign closes

Our army of green warriors pulled out all the stops this weekend as the Big Spring Clean drew to a close.

Over 2,000 people have taken part in 55 clean-up events organised as part of a 10-day drive by the Belfast Telegraph and Tidy Northern Ireland to clear up the litter blighting Northern Ireland.

On Friday a team of teenagers cleaned up Ballysally Estate in Coleraine, while on Saturday litter lifts were carried out at Carrigart in Craigavon, Millisle, Whiteabbey, Garvagh and Belfast.

And yesterday the Whitehead Wombles were up with the larks as they tackled the verges leading out of the village at the early hour of 8am.

One of the biggest efforts to date was carried out at Glenullin, near Garvagh, where 150 volunteers cleared up litter along miles of country roads on Saturday.

The clean-up, organised by Glenullin GAA club, cleared up flytipped litter and resulted in the collection of 80 black bin bags of rubbish.

The team have separated aluminium cans out for recycling with CANCAN, a charity for adults with learning disabilities which recycles aluminium, clothing and foil. The huge effort follows on from a major clean-up last Easter that targeted all the roads for miles around the village.

At the other end of the spectrum was a clean-up of the shore at Whiteabbey organised by The Pagan Journey, a group of people following alternative spiritual paths. Three volunteers gather ed some eight bags of litter in a four-hour clean-up along the Loughshore.

Organiser Jonathan Martin said: “We concentrated on the beach round the rocks as it was quite bad. A lot of people dump tyres there — apparently people have to pay to dispose of them and we found at least 10.”

Meanwhile, five Whitehead Wombles gathered 20 bags of rubbish along a mile and a half stretch of road towards Carrickfergus before tackling the town — and headed back out in the evening to clean up the beach.

Firefighter Noel McKee, who founded the group in frustration over the amount of litter discarded in the area, said: “It’s three months since we were last out and the place was filthy. Everything that we lifted this morning has been thrown from a car or dropped from a bike as you can’t walk along there.”

While the Big Spring Clean has officially drawn to a close, events continue, including clean-ups in Magherafelt and Coleraine today, Lurgan and Lawrencetown later in the week, Portaferry, Belfast, Ballyclare and Newtownabbey next week and Crumlin in June.

Full details are available at www.tidynorthernireland.org and pics and stories of how you got on can be forwarded to bigcleanup@belfasttelegraph.co.uk.

Belfast Telegraph