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The Big Spring Clean campaign smashes target of 100,000 volunteers


The Big Spring Clean, run by Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful, is Northern Ireland’s biggest clean up.

It is a volunteering and awareness raising campaign aimed at promoting volunteering opportunities for groups, businesses and individuals. The programme supports local community clean ups across all 26 Council areas. It is open to anyone wishing to rid their streets, beaches or parks of litter and discarded rubbish.

Last year over 50,000 people lifted litter. This year a staggering 105,819 people came out to participate in the Big Spring Clean.  The target set was for 100,000 volunteers and it has been well and truly smashed.

21,139 bags of litter were collected by volunteers. This year groups were asked to segregate the waste, with plastic bottles going into the blue bags and all other waste going into the yellow bags. For those groups who were able to segregate the waste 6,283 blue bags were collected.

14,856 yellow bags of other waste was collected this year for Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful Big Spring Clean campaign.

The total weight of all rubbish collected by the volunteers was 127 tonnes; this would be equivalent to over 18,500 road racing bicycles.

Environment Minister Mark H Durkan said:

“Over 100,000 volunteers helping to clean up our environment is truly impressive. I would like to thank each and every one of them for getting involved in the Big Spring Clean. We are blessed with some of the best landscapes anywhere on our shores but the blight from litter is a real damaging distraction. So the volunteers work is truly impressive in addressing that and also sends out a clear message to those who thoughtlessly throw away to start thinking about the damage they do. 

I commend Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful for this sterling initiative. We in DOE are proud to provide financial support helping deliver the phenomenal growth of this campaign and ensuring they can continue to support volunteers on the ground. Our own volunteers are also regularly out there filling bag after bag.

Well done too to the Belfast Telegraph for putting their weight behind the Big spring Clean every year. I strongly encourage more and more people to volunteer for the Big Spring Clean. It is good fun alongside the hard work. There are so many other ways as well that people can help keep the north beautiful. Rethink Waste encourages everyone at home, at work at school and in the local community to reduce, reuse and recycle more. Our young people have a vital role to play in educating their parents. With the help of keep Northern Ireland Beautiful, around 96% of schools have signed up to be eco schools and this figure keeps growing.

To the growing green army of volunteers-many many thanks and keep up the good work.”

The BIG Spring Clean campaign has also garnered a wealth of celebrity support, two of whom attended the launch event at Malone House, Belfast.

Charlie Lawson said, “This is a brilliant result for Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful Big Spring Clean campaign, it was great to be part of the launch and I am so pleased that the people of Northern Ireland have helped to smash the target - It shows just how proud we are of our wee country.”

Denise Watson said "I'm delighted the Big Spring Clean has been such a success. We live in a stunningly beautiful country and I can't believe people would discard litter or destroy the environment. I have two children and they've been taught to always respect the environment. Campaigns like this help them understand how important it is to clean up after themselves. I'm so pleased with the success of it.”

Dr Ian Humphreys, CEO of Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful, commented that “This is proof that most people are extremely proud of where they live.  It is proof they are willing to stand up and be counted as people who will do something positive to clean up where we live. And from the impact we have seen, it is proof that we will change the behaviour of the small number of litter louts and dog owners that currently don’t seem to care.

The groups who have registered their clean up results with Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful will be entered into a prize draw to win a series of prizes kindly donated from The Ark Farm, Boojum, Burnavon Arts Centre, Coca Cola, Dominos, Dundonald Ice Bowl, Heyn Waste Solutions, Mauds, Sportsworld and Streamvale Farm.

Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful has teamed up with other members of the Clean Europe Network to encourage volunteers to take part in a Europe-wide Day of Action on Saturday 10th May 2014 by organising a clean-up in their local community. Clean Europe Day 2014 encourages volunteers to organise clean-up events in their local areas to reduce the amount of litter and raise awareness of the extent of the problem.

For more information visit contact Katy Jenkins: +44(0)28 9073 6924 or katy.jenkins@keepnorthernirelandbeautiful.org

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