RSPB and consumer product company SC Johnson have teamed up to take action on the serious issue of marine plastics. Through a programme of community clean-ups across the UK, we are planning to conduct a series of volunteer days during 2019 and 2020.

RSPB NI, with the support of the local community group - Friends of Whitehouse Lagoon - is organising the first of the Northern Ireland events at the Whitehouse Lagoon Newtownabbey on Friday 1 November.

Whitehouse Lagoon was created by the construction of the M5 motorway in the 1960s and is situated between the motorway and the Belfast to Larne railway line. Tidal seawater from Belfast Lough enters and leaves by culverts built under the motorway.

The lagoon is an important place for shorebirds and is part of a much larger protected site in Belfast Lough. The site is most important in the winter months, when thousands of shorebirds can be attracted by this sheltered location. As the tide drops, many of these birds spill out on to the exposed mud to feed - before eventually heading out into Belfast Lough.

The whole area has been recognised as an internationally important site for birds (especially redshanks - pictured at top of page - and turnstones) and is designated as an Area of Special Scientific Interest, Special Protection Area and Ramsar site. The lagoon is managed by Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council in partnership with RSPB NI.

The freshwater stream flowing into the lagoon helps enrich the site and provides bathing and drinking water. Large numbers of gulls are attracted here. Careful observation can reveal a variety of rare or scarce gulls and even including some regular American visitors.

Unfortunately, with the combination of flows from the stream and tidal movement, the lagoon becomes a collection point for all kinds of unwanted plastic debris and litter, so action is needed to clean up this important site.


Date and time: Friday 1 November at 10am
Location: Car park at Gideons Green at the north end of the Whitehouse Lagoon
(Whitehouse Park, Newtownabbey BT37 9SQ)
Duration: We expect the clean-up to last two hours 

All volunteers are welcome to come along and get involved. Participants should wear sturdy footwear and waterproof clothing.

RSPB and SC Johnson are working together to take action on the issue of marine plastics through a programme reaching over 300,000 people across the UK in 2019 and 2020. This work is possible due to their generous support.

* If you’d like to join us on Friday 1 November and help us with the community clean-up at Whitehouse Lagoon from 10am, please email or call him on 028 9069 0856.

Bird photo credits:
Redshank by Lesley Spence, herring gull by Ernie James (