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Northern Ireland’s largest clean-up, The Big Spring Clean, launched today at Shane’s Castle for the ninth year running. Organisers called on volunteers, schools, businesses and community groups to pick up their litter pickers and spring into action – with a particular focus on plastic.

The Big Spring Clean is a province-wide campaign organised by charity Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful’s Live Here Love Here programme. Last year 119,000 volunteers took part, making it the largest volunteer clean up in the country.

This year, as Big Spring Clean launches its month-long campaign, problematic plastics are high up on the agenda. Plastic in our environment is not just litter, it's a pollutant, making up two of the top three most frequently encountered litter items. 80% of this litter ends up in our oceans which is incredibly costly and difficult, if not impossible to remove, devasting coast lines and harming marine life which in turn means plastic is entering our food chain, damaging our health.

Jodie McAneaney, Live Here Love Here Manager comments at the launch: “The time is now for preventative steps to reduce, reuse and recycle the plastics we use. The Big Spring Clean is a great opportunity to raise awareness of the issues here in Northern Ireland and record our findings so that we can take steps to improve. It’s also great to get all the volunteers together to discuss the issues surrounding plastic litter and give our parks, forests and beaches a Big Spring Clean before the Easter Break so that people can enjoy the outdoors.”

We can all do just one thing and together make a difference. Volunteers can either organise their own clean-up or get involved in an existing event. Visit