OVER 40 volunteers turned up on the 10th March to give White Park Bay a spring clean.
The event organised by the National Trust, and supported by NIEA Challenge Fund and Tidy NI, was planned in order to rid the beach of winter rubbish washed up in the strong seas.
The 45 strong team managed to cover the entire beach and lifted approximately 80kg of rubbish, most of it tiny pieces of plastic especially cotton bud sticks which are often flushed down the toilet.
Litter is very damaging to sea life and it’s the small pieces which do the most harm for example bottle tops, cotton bud sticks and fishing tackle. Seabirds often mistake these fragments of plastic for fish and either eat them or feed them to their chicks which can lead to death through starvation.
Amongst the volunteers were Ballintoy Scout Group, who weren’t afraid to get stuck in and get their hands dirty. One young volunteer said: “It was really fun! We found loads of loads of cotton bud sticks, the best part was when cattle came down onto the beach.”
After the event the participants were treated to afternoon tea at Sheep Island Youth Hostel, Ballintoy, where they were thanked for their hard work by Community Learning and Interpretation Officer Rachael Conway.
“It’s fantastic to see so many people getting involved in conservation. Everyone has made an enormous effort to clear the beach of litter. In addition to the benefits to wildlife, the clean up has left the bay in excellent condition for the start of the tourist season and really shows the beach at its best,” she said.