The Secretary of Lagan Rivers Trust hit out at the lack of civic pride in Seymour Hill after just two local volunteers turned up for an a Spring Clean-up.
Lagan Rivers Trust and Live Here, Love Here had organised a Spring Clean-up along the Community Woodland and river area of Seymour Hill/Conway on Saturday 12th March.
Secretary, Trevor Ogborn said: “The weather was kind and we posted 1,000 leaflets throughout the estate, plus some posters, to inform people and ask for volunteers.
“On the day we had two local volunteers. There seems to be very little civic pride about Seymour Hill these days.
“People dispose of their junk ‘over the fence’. Fly tipping is rife.”
Trevor said the root of the problem is three-fold.
“Part of the problem lies with the council who withdrew the free collection for large items - soon to be restored,” he said. “And part with the Housing Executive who seem to turn a blind eye to dumping, but mostly it is down to the local people themselves.
Trevor stressed the need for people to realise what a good area they have.
He said: “If local people were to approach the council asking for a park/amenity area on their doorstep, which included a woodland, a riverside walk, a viable natural leisure facility for fishing and canoeing, and plenty of wildlife, they would be laughed out of the building.
“The Seymour Hill area has all this and don’t appreciate it.
“During the clean-up six volunteers (including four pensioners) gathered three large piles of rubbish in three hours.
“Lagan Rivers Trust would like to thank Lisburn & Castlereagh Council for supporting the effort with bags, litter pickers and gloves, and for removing the waste piles.
“Also, a big thank you to Tesco, Dunmurry for their support.”
Both the Housing Executive and Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council issued a response.
A spokesperson for the Housing Executive said: “It is a criminal offence to drop litter or dump rubbish, and offenders who are identified will be prosecuted.
“Clearing litter and the removal of illegally dumped material is not the Housing Executive’s responsibility.
“However, the Housing Executive takes pride in its green space and does clear areas affected by littering.
“This is a time consuming and costly exercise - time and money which could be spent on improving homes.
“We would urge everyone to do their part in keeping our green areas tidy and litter free.
“In the meantime a member of our team will visit the area to assess our green spaces and, where necessary, arrange a clean-up.”
A spokesperson for Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council said: “The Council conducts regular patrols throughout the area, and where there is evidence of any accumulation of deposited materials, it will act in accordance with the Council approved protocols.
“Previously when informed of any illegal dumping in the Seymour Hill area the Council acted and removed the items.
“In terms of bulky waste collections from homes the Council will lift three items for free from homes in the Council area from 1st April 2016.
“The Council will undertake enforcement action if any individual is caught dumping waste material inappropriately.”