Northern Ireland’s huge clean-up, The Big Spring Clean, has been launched at Shane’s Castle for the ninth year running.
Organisers have called on volunteers, schools, businesses and community groups in the Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough to pick up their litter pickers and spring into action – with a particular focus on plastic.
Attending the recent launch in Antrim was Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey Council, Paul Michael, and Ian Humphreys Chief Executive of Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful- a charity working towards the vision of a cleaner, greener Northern Ireland. Paul and Ian (pictured) led by example at the event by doing some litter picking.
The Big Spring Clean is a province-wide campaign organised by charity Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful’s Live Here Love Here programme. Last year 119,000 volunteers took part country wide.
This year, as Big Spring Clean launches its month-long campaign, problematic plastics are high up on the agenda.
It was pointed out at the launch that ‘plastic in our environment is not just litter, it’s a pollutant, making up two of the top three most frequently encountered litter items. Eighty per cent of this litter ends up in our oceans which is incredibly costly and difficult, if not impossible to remove, devasting coast lines and harming marine life which in turn means plastic is entering our food chain, damaging our health’.
Also attending the launch was Jodie McAneaney, manager of ‘Live Here Love Here’, a national campaign aimed at promoting civic pride and a community can-do attitude by improving environmental quality in Northern Ireland.
Jodie said: “The time is now for preventative steps to reduce, reuse and recycle the plastics we use.
“The Big Spring Clean is a great opportunity to raise awareness of the issues here in Northern Ireland and record our findings so that we can take steps to improve.
“It’s also great to get all the volunteers together to discuss the issues surrounding plastic litter and give our parks, forests and beaches a Big Spring Clean before the Easter Break so that people can enjoy the outdoors.”
Prospective volunteers in Antrim & Newtownabbey can either organise their own clean-up or get involved in an existing event.
Visit www.liveherelovehere.org/bigspringclean or contact firstname.lastname@example.org to register.
The ‘Live Here Love Here’ campaign tackles issues such as poor environmental quality, littering and dilapidation, by encouraging volunteers to take practical action in their communities.