Large quantity of litter collected at Floodgates

LOCAL volunteers flooded to Strangford Lough to carry out a clean-up exercise on Sunday.

Ards and North Down Beach Cleaners recently joined forces with Noreen Wylie in a clean-up of her Live Here Love Here ‘Adopt A Spot’ area, at the Floodgates in Newtownards.

This marked the beach cleaning group’s 16th group coastal clean-up this year, and while they had never conducted a clean-up operation in this location before, they plan to come back again.

The group, consisting of 10 volunteers, were able to collect eight bags on the day, containing 28kgs of litter.

A group spokesperson noted that as they looked over the fence to the shoreline, before the clean-up, they could immediately see a lot of litter among the natural detritus.

The spokesperson said: “Once we got closer we could see the true scale of the litter problem here. There was so much it was easy to feel overwhelmed, but we found the best thing to do was to just pick a short section and try and clear as much as we could from that section.

“We lifted endless plastic cotton bud sticks, shotgun wads and bottle caps, but there were also shotgun cartridges, bottle rings, roofing screw caps, straws, some wipes and broken down pieces of plastic.

“Whilst we did find the occasional larger items most of what we lifted was small plastic.”

He continued: “It’s always concerning to see plastic pollution in such a beautiful and important location for wildlife. When you consider that Strangford Lough is a Special Area of Conservation, a Special Protection Area, a Marine Protected Area, an Area of Special Scientific Interest and a Wetland of International Importance, we really have to be doing better than this as a society to look after our special places. We all have a part to play in this.”

The group spokesperson thanked all the volunteers who came to help carry out the cleaning exercise and praised them for a ‘wonderful job’.

“Many thanks to Noreen Wylie for all her hard work looking after this very special place,” the spokesperson said.

“Thanks also to Ards and North Down Borough Council for collecting and disposing of the litter.”

So far in 2024 the group have carried out 16 clean-ups across the borough and lifted 1.04 tons of litter. They have collected 131 bags (consolidated) and have had 306 people attending the clean-ups in total.

To find out more about the group or to check out their schedule for 2024 check out their social media pages: