Ballywalter is on the east coast of County Down looking out towards Scotland. The County is famous for it’s beautiful landscape, the Mourne Mountains, the drumlins and Strangford Lough. Whilst we are not a part of Strangford & Lecale, it is still a area of outstanding natural beauty. Despite all this the people who use the road between Ballywalter and Greyabbey seem to feel that this is a good place to dump their rubbish.
BD and I spent an hour yesterday picking up mostly cans and plastic bottles, but dear reader, there was carpet, wheels, endless expanded polystyrene food boxes. There were even a sizeable number of McDonald’s drinks cartons with lid and straw…………. I kept imagining hanging on to a cold drink all the way from McDonald’s in Newtownards or Bangor, only to chuck it out the window just before you reach the coast?!?
On this road there is what looks like a layby just by our dairy. It’s not a layby at all it is a place where our tractors can pull in and make way for traffic. And this is a place where people park up at night and drink their beer, then throw the cans out the window before drink-driving on. It was also the final resting place of the blue carpet, which has been there for quite a while and has therefore disintegrated so much we couldn’t pick it up. There is lots of nylon string – very bad for wildlife if a mammal gets caught up in it – and bits of blue fluff, which was the soft bit of the carpet, but because it is made of polyester it will take thousands of years to biodegrade. I think what irks most is that practically all the stuff that’s been dumped can actually be recycled in a meaningful way.
This morning we organised some bin bags and two bins. One for the recyclables and one for general waste. Why do this? Well, Ards Borough Council has not got the resources to clear every road. So BD and I spent an hour in the sun ensuring that all the public’s waste from the first stretch of the road on the east coast was properly bagged up and/or recycled. The thing is if you don’t care about your environment you will suffer with its poisoning. We care because we live here and our children and grandchildren visit; do we want to poison them? They might even live here one day so clearly the answer is NO! We do this in recognition of the fact that the Council can’t do everything and as responsible citizens we want to ensure our environment here has a future.
So the last job was to take the bags we’d used for gathering up all the stuff to the recycling bin and the wheel up to where the public used to pick strawberries which is where it will be stored till it and everything else up there is taken away to be…………… you guessed it recycled!