A PORTAFERRY man has lifted 32 bags of rubbish from the coastline along Strangford Lough in six days.

George Tomas decided to tackle the messy coastline for one hour for six days after noticing the amount of plastic on local beaches had hit ‘unreal’ levels.

He has found all kinds of plastic and has even seen the effect it has on local wildlife after finding a jellyfish tangled up with two celebration balloons washed up on the beach.

“The more you clean the more the tide brings in, just more and more,” he said.

“I just wanted to see that if I spent one hour a day what I would lift, and I was lifting four or five bags a day. It’s a large amount of plastic, there’s lots of people using the area but it doesn’t seem like there’s a lot happening to help clear the area.

“It’s upsetting because we have a lot of sea life around and they are getting tangled or hurt by the plastic in the water.

“This particular location, due to the shape of it and the current, brings in a lot of floating items, such as bottles and other plastic items. If we wanted to make a change someone needs to be down there everyday cleaning up but I passed there on Monday and it’s back to being the same.”

George, who is passionate about the environment and the effect man has on it, channels this drive into creating models depicting this.

“I create models about the environment to try and make people aware about our effect on the environment,” he said.

“A lot of places are like this but we have to do something. I just want to get the message out there that our coastlines need help so that’s why I created the word ‘help’ out of plastics that I found. It’s not help me, I don’t need any help but the lough needs help.

“I take pictures of all the plastic I find because I want to make a mosaic. I’ve taken my drone up to take pictures of the shorelines and you can see the beauty but you can also see all the plastic and the mess we leave behind.

“If I clean up the beach and take the items to the skip, nobody would notice but if I can take pictures to show people how much there is, hopefully they will take notice.”

George thinks there should be a program in place for someone or a team to go in and regularly clean the coastlines, as well as people taking personal responsibility for their own litter.

“I just want people to be aware of what they are leaving behind and to pick up after themselves,” he said.

“I think we should take an interest now before it gets worse and too messy.”