Councillor Girvan explained, “Ards Borough Council does a great job cleaning the main streets in Comber which are swept every day. However, there are a few notable black spots where rubbish has gathered and are an absolute eyesore. For example, the grounds at the back of Parkway football grounds; the lane which runs parallel with Castle Street at the back of the shops is a shameful abomination of abandoned rubbish; and the Yellow Place and adjacent vacant building site where the Farmers’ Supply Store used to be is littered with fast food cartons and papers, bottles and drink cans. The latter two areas are private property and the Council is not authorised to clean these areas and say that it is up to the landowners to keep their properties clean and tidy but they obviously don’t bother.”
£39 million is spent every year byNorthern Ireland’s district councils in cleaning the streets. Ards Borough Council’s estimated spend on street cleaning for 2012/13 is £1,020,588 (5.6%) of its total budget. Combined with waste collections (emptying bins) £2,456,167 and disposing of waste through recycling and land fill, £3,346,556, a total of £6,823,311 (37.4%) of its budget is spent annually keeping the Borough free from litter and waste.
“Clearly a staggering amount of rate payers’ money is spent managing waste and keeping our public areas clean and tidy,” said Councillor Girvan. “People need to take more responsibility and stop dropping litter on our roads and streets, throwing rubbish out car windows and letting their dogs foul our footpaths. To make people more aware of the amount of litter which people throw down I am appealing for volunteers to help me with the Litter Pick on Saturday 28 April. Ards Borough Council and Tidy NI are supplying gloves, litter pickers and bags, People should turn up at Park Way Car Park at10.00amwearing sturdy, flat footwear where they will be allocated to teams and directed to an area to collect litter with a team leader.
“Having received permission from Ards Council, at12:00noonwe will pile the rubbish in the Square so that people can publicly see how much litter has been picked up. Once photographs are taken of the rubbish mountain, Ards Borough Council staff will collect the bags is and take it to Comber Amenity Centre. I hope that community spirited people and children will give up two hours of their time on Saturday 28 April to Clean up Comber and demonstrate that they care about the cleanliness of our lovely town. “