By Daniel Hill
RESIDENTS within the Newry area will be encouraged by the council this spring to come together as a community and take part in the “Big Spring Clean” event.
The scheme, which will take place on a pre-selected Saturday after March is being spearheaded by Councillor Jarlath Tinnelly.
He believes that more people are starting to notice how rubbish laden some rural roads and pathways are within the local area while they take part in outdoor exercise as a means of coping with the physical and mental stress brought on by the ongoing Coronavirus Pandemic.
“Due to the pandemic a lot of people including myself were out and about more often and as a result we noticed just how beautiful the landscape of The Newry, Mourne and Down District Council really is.
“However, what we also noticed is that some areas within the council boundaries are absolutely filthy. For example, I have seen hedgerows and rural roads with discarded rubbish littered about all over the place. If one were to undertake a quick clean-up of a rural stretch of road then they would understand how bad this problem is in places.
“Rural roads are regularly cleaned by refuse collection crews and whilst these guys do a fantastic job, there is only so much they can cover. For the most part their primary duty is to the main roads that have a speed limit of 30 mph. As a result, the main goal of the “Big Spring Clean Scheme is to try and clean up the more rural roads within the area.
The scheme will see large groups of volunteers comprised of all sections of the community from primary school aged children to adult’s dawning litter pickers and high visibility vests to remove refuse and other rubbish scattered throughout the council area with particular emphasis being placed on cleaning up rural roads and pathways.
The scheme will be co-ordinated by The Newry, Mourne and Down District council through each of the seven DEA’S that comprise the council area. The council will also handle all logistical issues such as providing the necessary equipment for the clean-up as well as rubbish collection points. Furthermore. the council will also liaise with local community groups who wish to become involved in the project and ensure their support is also given to the scheme.
In addition to removing the large amount of rubbish that has amassed on some roads within the council area Councillor Tinnelly also states that this scheme has a secondary objective.
“A secondary goal with this motion is to encourage more people to appreciate the splendour and beauty of the local are that they live in. As a result, most of the workforce will be composed of volunteers from the council area from primary school children all the way up to adults.
Councillor Tinnelly is very optimistic regarding the additional effect the scheme could have in developing resident’s appreciation for their local community and environment claiming that all they need is a gentle push in the right direction to truly learn to love and appreciate nature. He also alluded to the fact that if the scheme is successful, then it could become an annual event within the council area.
“I believe that if the citizens within the local council area are given a gentle push in the right direction and participate in the “Big Spring Clean Up Scheme” then they will develop an even greater appreciation for their local environment.
“Furthermore, I do not see what issues there are preventing this scheme from becoming an annual event in which members of the local community could come together to show their appreciation for the environment by helping to tidy it up, one Saturday out of every 52 in the year.