Representatives from Lagan Valley Regional Park, Scouts NI, Mobile Team Adventure and Lisburn City Council welcome ashore the hard working river cleaners at the Lagan Valiey Island on the banks of the Lagan.
A MASSIVE clean up of the River lagan in Lisburn at the weekend has gathered 75 bags of litter and a real life letter in a bottle from a six-year-old.
Scouts, Cubs and Guides from Lisburn Cathedral teamed up with Lagan Valley Regional Park, Mobile Team Adventure and Lisburn City Council for the river clean up which proved to be one of the biggest and most effective so far.
Litter pollution in the Lagan River can be an ongoing problem in areas of the Regional Park, a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It not only makes the area look untidy but also poses a serious threat to wildlife, water quality and recreation.
Winter floods can add to the problem by lifting the river level so that rubbish is left visible on tree branches along the canal and river banks when the water drops.
Over the last two years the LVRP has worked with the local community, co-ordinating clean ups throughout the Park and has been involved in cleaning the Lagan further downstream around the Shaw's Bridge area.
A river clean-up in spring last year saw over thirty bin bags of waste in addition to a miscellany including car tyres and chicken coups removed from the river. This Lagan initiative was nominated for the Brighter Belfast Awards.
Building on this success, the focus this time was on Lisburn, with scouts
setting off in rafted
canoes from the Island Civic Centre under the watchful eye of Mobile Team Adventure, to collect litter from the banks of the river and canal, a haven for wildlife and inaccessible by any other means.
A great turn out of enthusiastic workers from the local community arrived in the morning and the threatening clouds soon dispersed revealing a glorious day, putting everyone on good form, both on the water and along the towpath.
When time was called for the rewarding barbecue lunch and the final haul of litter had been lifted ashore, Lagan Valley Regional Park recorded a staggering 75 bin bags of litter.
In addition some weird and wonderful objects rose from the depths including four bicycles, child's tricycle, scooter, bed mattress, toboggan, shopping trolley, Venetian blinds, car wheels, window box and footballs.
The best find of the day had to be a real life 'message in a bottle' written by a six year old at some point in time.
This event was fun and enjoyed by all who took part but the vast accumulation of rubbish and flotsam rapidly piling up in clear view of the public, who gave a lot of moral support, drew attention to the fact that it does not go away just because it is discarded into the river and highlighted the importance of looking after our local environment and protecting it now and for future generations.