East Antrim towns some of the ‘cleanest in the province’ thanks to work of Eco Rangers

Larne and Carrickfergus are some of the ‘cleanest in the province’ thanks to the work of a local environmental group.

Eco Rangers was established in October 2020 by Larne man, Abe Agnew, in the hopes of combating a rise in litter on roads and along the coastline.

Volunteers from the group work carry out litter picks on a regular basis all over East Antrim, from Jordanstown to Carnlough and 15 miles inland.

The group recently carried out a series of beach cleans in the area, as well as collecting another 100 bags of litter from the A8 Larne Harbour to Hillhead Road.

"We now do 630 miles of roads, four reservoirs and forest parks,” said Mr Agnew, who last year was awarded the British Empire Medal for his services to the community and environment.

“We never ask for donations but the local business community have been very supportive and we thank them all. Good equipment is expensive and we strive to supply our members with the best available kit.

"The group was founded in Larne because of the litter and refuse that was everywhere around the town, suburbs, and country areas. It reflected so badly on the already negative image the town had.”

And volunteers’ efforts have more than paid off, with Larne and Carrick now some of the “cleanest towns in the province”, Mr Agnew added.

"We always require more members. If anyone wishes to join us and could spare an hour every couple of weeks, even to keep their street or section of road clean, we will supply all the equipment required. Just go to Facebook and search for Eco Rangers NI.

"Local people maintaining their own areas is what we are all about.”

Mr Agnew also welcomed a £100 donation for the group from Coast Road council candidate Andrew Clarke, who pledged to donate £1 for every one of his election posters placed in the area.

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Meanwhile, Mid and East Antrim Borough Council responded to a call from the eco group’s founder to recognise the work of members “who go out in all weathers, 52 weeks a year without reward”.

A council spokesperson said that the local authority “commends the outstanding work of Eco Rangers, who give selflessly of their time and do so much good work across the borough.”