(Back row L-R) Catherine Hunter, Education Officer for MEABC; Eco-Ranger Volunteers Alyson Kerr, Ann Morrow, Abe Agnew andChristine Leacock; Lisa Kirkwood, Outdoor Recreation Officer for MEABC.
(Children L-R) Ben Crooks, Alexander Leacock, Charlotte Leacock.
Mid and East Antrim Borough Council recently secured vital funding from the Live Here Love Here Marine Litter Capital Grants Scheme to purchase equipment and machinery to prevent litter entering the local marine environment, as well as remove litter from coastal areas.
Council works in partnership with the Live Here Love Here (LHLH) campaign (from the environmental charity Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful) which promotes civic pride and creating better environments for local communities.
The Marine Litter Capital Grants - funded by the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) - made £198,000 available for interested parties to help preserve local aquatic spaces and improve marine biodiversity and the health and wellbeing of coastal communities.
Council secured over £3,000 of funding and used the part of the money to purchase two new ‘2 Minute Beach Clean Boards’ for Brown’s Bay and Carnlough South Bay. Each board includes all the information and equipment residents and visitors will need if they have two minutes spare on their visit to the beach to carry out a quick clean – including litter pickers and plastic bags.
The ‘2 Minute Beach Clean’ is spearheaded by The 2 Minute Foundation, a registered charity devoted to cleaning up the planet 2 minutes at a time with simple, achievable acts that can add up to make a great difference.
Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Alderman Gerardine Mulvenna, said:
“We are delighted to have secured this vital funding to help protect our beautiful coastal areas. We are aware of the ongoing issue of littering -particularly single-use plastic litter and welcome the collaborative approach in raising awareness, educating the public and putting in place interventions such as the ‘2 Minute Beach Clean Boards’ to reduce this type of pollution.”
Lisa Kirkwood, Outdoor Recreation Officer for Mid & East Antrim Borough Council, added:
“We hope that residents and visitors using our beautiful beaches and coast lines will help us keep them spick and span by taking part in a ‘2 Minute Beach Clean’ as part of their visit. Once the litter has been collected, residents and visitors can empty the contents of the bag into a nearby litter bin before returning the litter pick and reusable bag back to the ‘2 Minute Beach Clean Board’.”
Catherine Hunter, Environmental Education Officer for Mid & East Antrim Borough Council, said:
“We were delighted to secure the funding to not only provide the ‘2 Minute Beach Clean Boards’ but also an educational anti-littering video which is appearing on Council’s social media channels. Through this funding we hope to engender behavioural change to tackle littering and promote our Borough as a clean, green and welcoming place to live, work and visit.”
The Marine Litter Capital Grants were open to any organisation with responsibilities for managing free-to-access public open space. Funded projects were required to demonstrate innovative, creative or functional approaches to prevent litter reaching the marine environment. With 80% of marine litter originating from land-based activities, grants were distributed across all geographical areas of Northern Ireland to meet the scale of the challenge.
Helen Tomb, Live Here Love Here Manager comments:
“It’s been a great pleasure to support 17 projects this year through Live Here Love Here’s Marine Litter Capital Grants Scheme. This is a brilliant chance for people to access the capital they need to look after their local marine environment and help it flourish in the future. As always, we extend our thanks to our generous and hard-working volunteers for giving us their free time to help keep Northern Ireland beautiful. We encourage as many groups as possible to reach out to us if they want to ‘Live Here Love Here’.”