Larne lough rubbish is ‘biohazard’ says snapper

Rubbish along the shoreline of Larne Lough. INLT-39-705-con
Rubbish along the shoreline of Larne Lough. INLT-39-705-con

A Larne nature photographer says the council must do more to tackle waste at Larne Harbour which he says amounts to a “biohazard” to locals and wildlife.

Gavin Ferguson, who lives near the harbour, says that syringes, bottles filled with urine, trolleys and even dead sheep have been littering the local waterway for years, despite complaints to the council.

“The whole way down to the harbour roundabout and Southend Quay there are years upon years worth of bottles lying,” he told the Times.

“There are bottles of urine from lorry drivers right up the river. Where the river reaches Larne lough I have counted 40-odd shopping trollies.”

The local man says that it would be unsafe for community groups to attempt to clear the waste.

“You need a specialist cleaning crew to deal with the syringes and bottles of urine, it’s a bio-hazard,” he continued.

“It’s a health hazard, the place is full of rats, it’s not a job for community groups or local schools.

“For the birds that roost on the ground, rats eat their eggs or steal their chicks and they could get plastic wrapped around their legs.”

“I am going to send photos of the waste and a list of bird species to the RSPB and Ulster Wildlife to put pressure on council,” he concluded.

An NIEA spokeswoman said it was “not aware” of the issue and that a member of NIEA’s Waste Management Flytipping team would go out to assess the area.

“NIEA is responsible for clearing non-hazardous flytipped waste over 20m3 in volume, or hazardous waste. Any other fly-tipped wastes are to be cleared up by council,” she said.

A MEA Council spokesperson said council is “aware of complaints about rubbish accumulations in the Larne Lough area,” and is “currently investigating options.”

“Clean-ups in partnership with local community organisations and businesses were previously coordinated by council and this is one avenue being investigated,” he added.