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A Campbeltown mum has unearthed a massive amount of junk, including hundreds of broken bottles, discarded window frames and even a sharp knife, in an area of town frequented by children and families.
Helen Bain also discovered three shopping trolleys, a wheel barrow, gas canisters, a mattress, a trampoline base, satellite dishes, linoleum, a chair, a shovel, carpets, tyres, hot-tub filters and a washing-line post as she embarked on a campaign to transform The Glen, an area at Drumore, past Dalaruan Burn, which she says has become a ‘dumping ground’ in recent years.
A combination of factors led Helen to begin her tidy-up mission with her children Erika, aged six, and three-year-old Adam during their February break from home-schooling.
She said: ‘We moved near to The Glen about 18 months ago – it is a lovely wee area to explore and a nice spot for some fresh air and exercise. Lots of families go there for walks and picnics, and Dalintober Early Learning Centre uses it during outdoor learning.
‘At this time of year, however, the litter is really obvious as there is so little growth on the ground; I thought it was only a matter of time before someone got injured on broken glass or something else.
‘Even my children noticed that it was getting really bad for fly-tipping and littering.’
Helen uncovered so much rubbish that she encouraged friends and others, through social media, to help out.
She explained: ‘Due to restrictions, I couldn’t organise an en masse clean-up, but I asked on Facebook if there was any interest in doing this in an informal way over a week or so.
‘Winter is the best time to clear litter, when there isn’t undergrowth hiding things or tangling things up and, with the school holidays coming up, I thought families might be looking for activities to do as there are so many limitations placed on them just now.
‘Children under 12 are allowed to be together outside, so it was a good way for people to plan some form of social activity for their children, which also has a really positive environmental outcome – and it’s a slightly different way to get your daily exercise!’
She added: ‘It has been great that people have got involved and been really enthusiastic about it. It’s not been easy as the council could not collect the litter due to restrictions, so I had to ask people to dispose of it responsibly themselves and they have done so which is great.’
Some items were so large that they could not easily be disposed of, so Helen enlisted the help of friends with a pick-up and trailer but even they were filled in no time.
‘There is still more to be done and we will carry on,’ Helen said. ‘There are a couple of less accessible areas needing attention that my husband and I will try to get to in the next week or two.’
Helen said she has ‘always been bothered’ by litter and has tried hard to teach her children to respect the environment in which they are growing up.
‘As a family, we lift some litter on most of our walks and we’ll certainly continue with that,’ she said. ‘I think it is really irresponsible not to take your rubbish home with you. Even my three-year-old son understands that, and my daughter is really concerned about litter and always gathered some rubbish when we were in The Glen, even before this.
‘I cannot understand fly-tipping at all – why go to the bother of taking a mattress, carpet or broken windows up to The Glen, when you could much more easily take them to the dump at the Roading? Why put your grass cuttings in bin bags and throw them into woods where they have no chance of decomposing wrapped in plastic?
‘I think a sharp knife falling out of one of the bags I lifted shows just how dangerous fly-tipping can be, as it could have been a child who found it!’
Helen said she may organise future tidy-ups in other areas once restrictions have been lifted but, for now, she will focus her efforts on The Glen.
‘I’d like to say a big thank you to everyone who helped in any small way,’ she said. ‘Even one little bag of litter lifted is a step in the right direction. In an ideal world, there would be no litter, but that sadly isn’t the case. Hopefully future generations will be more respectful and responsible.’