• Love Ballymena

“Respect our community” | Residents appeal to public after cleanup at Altnahinch Dam

The local community who live near Altnahinch Reservoir have appealed to visitors to the area to respect the Antrim Hills beauty spot, and to properly dispose of their rubbish.

Over the last year, particularly with the lockdown and public health regulations in Northern Ireland, people have been taking advantage of visiting County Antrim’s reservoirs, which offer beautiful scenery and wide open space for exercise and walking their dogs.

However, with the growing attraction of such public spaces, local residents have noticed the increase in litter and dog fouling issues, with a small minority of visitors behaving carelessly.

Last weekend a number of countryside residents pulled together to clean up the area around Altnahinch, gathering 20 bags of rubbish as well as a number of larger items that had been dumped at the site by fly tippers.

One frustrated resident spoke to Love Ballymena on Monday and said:

“Yesterday a local group tidied it up and today when I was around it we already had bags of dog poop left behind, food cartons and more general waste.”

Altnahinch • Erin Millar

Altnahinch, like other reservoirs, are public sites managed by Northern Ireland Water, and are open for the public to enjoy. Please respect these areas and the local communities by leaving no litter behind. If you visit with your four-legged friend, please remember to use poop bags and dispose of properly. Sinn Féin Councillor, Cara McShane, has appealed for people to report dumping to the Council and to take their rubbish home, after a massive community effort was made in Loughgiel over the weekend to clean-up the area at Altanahinch Dam.

Local Councillor, Cara McShane, said:

"Over the past number of weeks, there has been a significant amount of dumping and rubbish left at Altnahinch Dam. This is a beautiful part of North Antrim with some of the most spectacular views and sounds around the reservoir with the towering dam, falling water and surrounding countryside. It is an area which is frequented by many people, who are trying to make the most of the outdoors during this pandemic.

"It is unfortunate that a minority of people use the remote location to selfishly treat it as a dumping group and to spoil the beauty of the area for everyone. It is not only a criminal offence, but dumping waste poses a major health risk to people, particularly children.

"Over the weekend we saw a group of community activists, who took time out from their own schedule, to carry-out a huge clean-up of the area. Thanks to them and the local Council officers who provided litter picks, bags and a van to lift almost 20 large bags of rubbish following the clean-up.

"There must be a zero-tolerance approach to dumping and a change of culture and behaviours. It is absolutely essential, especially during these difficult times, that people can enjoy their local environment and support their own mental health and wellbeing."

Keep Northern Ireland beautiful.

Altnahinch • Brian Millar

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