Members of the now nationally known Eco Rangers met for a Mayor’s reception in Larne Town Hall recently to receive life buoyancy aids provided by Mid and East Antrim Borough Council

Members of the now nationally known Eco Rangers met for a Mayor’s reception in Larne Town Hall recently to receive life buoyancy aids provided by Mid and East Antrim Borough Council, as a demonstration of continued support to this litter-fighting group.

Their objectives are to improve the local environment by removing polluting and unsightly litter.

The impact of this work is already visible, as it has promoted the town of Larne and surrounding villages in a more positive light, transforming the area to a green, litter-free and inviting place to live and visit.

All residents are benefitting from the volunteer work the rangers do, instilling a newfound sense of pride in their town and encouraging them to actively join in with the group.

Not only is the project improving the area in which our residents live; it has the added advantage of giving many the opportunity to exercise and improve mental health and well-being.

The Eco Rangers anticipate this will be a long-term and ever-growing project, as demonstrated to date.

Residents and visitors to the area will see daily updates on social media, showing individual and group efforts.

The Eco Rangers also actively engage with people they meet to inform them of their activities. Their work has seen a real positive change in attitudes toward littering.

The awareness of the group has also been raised through press releases, TV and radio interviews, talks and Zoom meeting with businesses, schools, groups and societies.

The Committee and other volunteers assimilate activities and progress. They also follow a rolling Development Scheme in order to plan for future projects, to expand the programme.

From its inception in October 2020, the group has grown from a small nucleus of willing participants to over 400 active adult members and over 160 junior members.

These are enthusiastic and like-minded individuals who are willing to give up their time and build on the group community spirit already generated by the group’s efforts.

This is the first-of-its-kind anti-litter movement of its size in the Larne area, challenging behaviours and dedicated to protecting and enhancing the environment.

Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Councillor William McCaughey, said:

“The Eco Rangers are well known throughout our borough, and also far beyond East Antrim, for their hard work and dedication.

“Council have a dedicated team working to tackle littering, however limited resources mean the extent of our reach can at times be an issue. We are astounded by the ongoing continued supportive effort the Eco Rangers make every day, ensuring our borough is a clean and inviting place to live and visit.”

Alderman Paul Reid said:

“A recent Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful cleanliness survey has demonstrated that our borough has improved in cleanliness, comparing July – September 2020 (65%) results to that of January – March 2021 (69%) results, also 2% above the Northern Ireland average.

“We acknowledge the efforts the Eco Rangers have contributed to this, to keep our borough clean and tidy. We wanted to show our appreciation by providing the rangers with life buoyancy aids to ensure they are safe when working in or near water.”

Abe Agnew, Eco Rangers founder, said:

“We are absolutely delighted to meet the Mayor at the reception in the town hall. We’re also looking forward to meeting him again in the near future with our Junior Eco Rangers, to show the efforts our entire group have made.”