ONE of the North’s premier visitor attractions along the Fermanagh and Cavan border is facing a mountainous battle to stamp out litter louts.
The Cuilcagh Mountains are being desecrated by fast food litter and concerns have been raised that this could lead to them being deserted by tourists.
The news comes less than a year after the council secured improved access for the public to the mountain park by way of 1.5km of boardwalk, built at the cost of £250,000.
At 665 metres (2,182 ft) above sea level, it is the highest point along counties Fermanagh and Cavan and has more than 36 flights of steps.
However disappointment has been expressed at how the scenic spot, dubbed by proud Fermanagh folk as our “great wall”, has now become a target for litter louts.
Laurence Speight from Derrgonnelly was left disheartened and shocked when he walked the terrain recently and discovered it was strewn with litter.
The ex-Green Party council candidate says he found plastic bags and bottles, tin cans, cigarette butts and packaging, sweet and chocolate wrappers, tin foil and non-biodegradable wipes had been discarded along the route.
“I would have thought that those who like me came to appreciate the mountain would have had sufficient awareness and level of care not to litter. It saddens me that people can’t abide by the ethic “do no harm” and take responsibility for disposing of their unwanted packaging in the appropriate way.
As tourists begin to flock to the popular spot over the coming months, Mr Speight is urging people who walk to the summit of Cuilcagh Mountain to dispose of their litter
“The question is why people get into this habit. It’s terrible that they would want to desecrate this scenic spot. If it’s simply a lack of awareness then it’s vital that we set a good example for change and protect this premier tourist attraction. We can’t force others to behave in a civil and way but we can be role models for positive change.”
A spokesman for Fermanagh and Omagh District Council said: “It is unfortunate and disappointing that some members of the public, who come to enjoy a walk in the UNESCO designated Marble Arch Caves Global Geopark, act irresponsibly; showing total disregard for our outstanding countryside by dropping litter rather than putting it in a bin or taking it home to dispose of. Litter is not only unsightly but it can also pose a serious risk to the wildlife of the area.
“Although Council officers carry out regular inspections and litter picks along the Cuilcagh Mountain walking route, littering remains a problem which we can only fully address with the full support and cooperation from members of the public.
“While the majority of visitors act responsibly, we urge everyone to do their bit to ensure this stunning landscape, which is home to some of the world’s most important geological heritage, can be preserved and enjoyed by future generations.”
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Posted: 9:00 pm April 14, 2016