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Country-wide clean-up launched by daily

A campaign to clear litter from streets, fields and beaches has been launched by a regional daily paper.

The Big Spring Clean campaign is run by the Belfast Telegraph alongside Tidy NI and aims to inspire 50,000 people to roll up their sleeves and help clear up Northern Ireland.

The country’s environment minister Alex Attwood even braved the cold to help mark the start of the drive.

Telegraph editor Mike Gilson said the campaign was designed to urge potential volunteers to tackle litter hotspots across Northern Ireland, either by organising their own litter-picking events or joining others.

“We’re delighted to be involved in the Big Spring Clean again. As a newspaper we want to be backing positive action that makes our community’s quality of life better and we are certain we are going to be bigger and better than last year,” he said.

The 2012 campaign saw more than 26,000 people take part in the scheme – up from around 13,000 the previous year – and the Telegraph wants to double that number again for this year’s event in April.

Last year’s volunteers donated more than 43,000 hours of their time, collecting 27,258 bags of rubbish from towns, countryside and beaches – which weighed in at 164 tonnes.

Telegraph environment correspondent Linda Stewart with environment minister Alex Attwood and Ian Humphreys and Lynsey McCloskey of Tidy NI at the launch of the Big Spring Clean