Councillors and officers of Douglas Borough Council, lead body for the campaign, were joined by schools, volunteer groups, local businesses and private individuals to target some of the Island’s litter hot-spots over the weekend of Friday September 28 to Sunday September 30.
Council Leader Councillor David Christian JP, (pictured third right with Councillor Eddie Joyce, third left, and others in 'Team Christian/Joyce) together with His Worship the Mayor of Douglas Councillor David Ashford JP, fellow councillors and officers, was among the Council’s volunteer working parties. He said: ‘What began as just an event in Douglas has gathered momentum over the years to become an all-Island all-out campaign to put over the message that dropping litter in our towns and villages is antisocial, a blight on the landscape and will not be tolerated.
‘This year we were pleased that there were around 300 more volunteers than in 2011 – a clear sign that our anti-litter message is resonating ever more strongly with communities Island-wide – and we were grateful for the support of Bunzle Cleaning and Hygiene Supplies Isle of Man who got behind the campaign and generously provided black bin bags, gloves and litter pickers.
(Pictured Councillor Carol Malarkey and Sara Hackman targeting Hills Meadow industrial estate)
‘At the heart of the Big Tidy Up challenge is the will for there to be a consolidated community approach to what is a community issue and to target those areas that cannot ordinarily be accessed by local authority or government cleansing teams: back lanes, alleyways, footpaths and other similar out-of-way places which, regrettably, become areas where some less responsible members of the community choose to leave litter.’ (Pictured, right, His Worship the Mayor Councillor David Ashford putting his heart and 'sole' into the campaign)
Among the schools supporting the campaign were Fairfield Junior School and Bunscoill Ghaelgagh.
Fairfield Junior School head teacher Ian Walmsley said: ‘Year 3 buddied up with year 6 to help in this year's Big Tidy Up. The 60 “volunteers” armed with gloves, litter pickers, bin bags and bright green tabards took to the local area to collect up as much rubbish as they could. All the staff mucked in and “PCs Jo and John” came along to help us out. The operation proved a great success and the children collected eight half bags of litter. This amount of litter could be seen as a great big “well done” to the pupils; it would, however, have been much better if we hadn't had any to pick up.’ (Below Fairfield Junior School volunteers with 'PCs Jo and John')
Head teacher at Bunscoill Ghaelgagh Julie Matthews added: ‘We hope the children will take in the important message about putting litter in the appropriate place and reusing and recycling objects. We find it [the Big Tidy Up] a useful activity.’
(PIctured right, volunteers from Bunscoill Ghaelgagh)
Volunteers from the Green Centre, a joint venture between Isle of Man Friends of the Earth, the Manx Energy Advice Centre and Zero Waste Mann, targeted Well Road Hill and the stretch of bushes to the side of Chester Street car park. Isle of Man Friends of the Earth co-ordinator Phil Corlett said: ‘I was disappointed to see so much litter under the bushes, especially as we worked so hard on it last year. Items found ranged from a coat, wheel hub cover, numerous glass alcohol bottles and cans, two broken brollies, enough plastic bottles and aluminium cans to overfill a very large Big Tidy Up green bag and five full cans of Stella Artois under the bushes by the Markwell House side entrance.
(Above: Green Centre volunteer Muriel Garland collecting cigarette butts)
As usual hundreds of cigarette butts littered the path down the hill and the area in front of the Green Centre, despite there being cigarette butt containers on the wall.’ Mr Corlett also spent an hour on Friday September 28 cleaning up around the perimeter of the Snaefell surgery at Anagh Coar and reported that from there he collected ‘a shopping bag full of plastic bottles and cans and a rusty bicycle.’
Patrick Commissioners (pictured left) supported the campaign, targeting car parks and White Strand and Glen Maye beaches from where, said the Commissioners’ chairman David Talbot, ‘among the litter we collected 14 tyres.’
Councillor Christian concluded: ‘On behalf of Douglas Borough Council I should like to thank all those who so generously gave of their time to support our campaign. It has been especially encouraging that so many schools got behind the campaign. Clearly green issues occupy young minds and the Council is extremely grateful to the schools for helping instil environmental awareness from an early age.’
(Council leader David Christian bags a load of rubbish, left, and Benjamin and Kristian Hackman at work in Hills Meadow)
(Team Douglas Borough Council)