Appeal for ‘Eco Rangers’ to tackle litter louts in Ballymena

A successful grassroots initiative helping clean up streets and spaces in Larne has the potential to be expanded to Ballymena.

Monday, 1st March 2021, 9:44 am

The group of litter-fighting enthusiasts known as the Eco-Rangers started in Larne with just 12 members in October last year and now has more than 300 locals hitting the streets who have collected a thousand bags of rubbish from nearby areas.

The group has already expanded into Glenarm, Ballycarry, and as far down to Carrickfergus. They have also established the Junior Eco Rangers with younger ones getting involved, and now a sister group covering the north coast, North Coast World Earth.

The brains behind it was Larne’s Abe Agnew who is passionate about keeping the area clean, tidy and enjoyable for residents and visitors. He has rallied new members from all communities across the town.

Mayor of Mid and East Antrim Cllr Peter Johnston, Abe and Bobby the dog

Abe now wants the movement to expand to Ballymena as well: “When I started collecting rubbish after seeing calves in a field trying to eat crisp packets, I expected around five or six people to want to help, not hundreds. I’m delighted to see so many people take pride in their local area and it really has made a difference.

“It’s been such a success, I’ve seen a great improvement around Larne and now Carrickfergus, and we’re so happy the north coast residents are rolling out the model too. What we really need is Ballymena to get on board now and we can help get them started.”

Council supports the group by providing bin bags, collections and is in the process of helping them to secure funding. The group have also received support from local businesses as well.

The Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Councillor Peter Johnston said: “Abe and all the rangers are doing so much to help their local community. A huge thanks must go to these dedicated volunteers who have worked so hard in their own time. It really shows a sense of pride to look after their areas and help maintain the beauty we have to show off around Mid and East Antrim.”

The group now has over 900 members on Facebook and you can find out more about them by joining the group online. Just search Eco Rangers Larne Official for more.

There are five recycling centre sites across the borough and you can also arrange bulky lifts with Mid and East Antrim Borough Council for larger items.

If you want to report littering you can online at www.midandeastantrim.gov.uk/report