Pupils plant crocus corms in Ballyclare

Rotary International.
Rotary International.

Rotary Ireland marked World Polio Day on Wednesday, October 24 by planting around 150,000 crocuses across the island of Ireland.

The flowers will set the landscape ablaze with ‘Purple for

Polio’ when they bloom in the spring.

Newtownabbey Rotary Club, along with Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council and pupils from Fairview Primary School, planted 10,000 crocus corms in the Six Mile Water Park, Ballyclare.

The Six Mile Water Trust also carried out invertebrate sampling with the pupils.

The eradication of polio is Rotary International’s primary project, partnered by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, who triple all fundraising by Rotarians worldwide.

The disease is now on the brink of eradication globally.

Polio will be only the second virus, next to smallpox to ever be eradicated.

A Newtownabbey Rotary spokesperson said: “Whilst tremendous progress has been made, the final steps on any journey are often some of the hardest.

“To date there have been 14 wild poliovirus cases this year. Nothing but complete eradication can fully stop this awful disease from returning. This is not a third world problem, this is a global problem and the speed at which this virus can spread means even our province could see its return.

“Polio is only endemic in three countries, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria, with 20 other countries being classed as either ‘key-at-risk’ or ‘outbreak countries.”