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Clare Clean Coasts Group, West Coasts Surf Club, have won the 2022 Ocean Hero Award in the Youth of the Year Category. Pictured are three young volunteers at a Clean-up event in Co. Clare.

Clare volunteers honoured at Clean Coasts Awards

Champion Chatter

A GROUP of volunteers from Clare were among the winners at the Clean Coasts Ocean Hero awards ceremony this week.

West Coast Surf Club was one of the recipients of the Ocean Hero Youth of the Year Title.

The West Coast Surf Club is a surf non-profit club based out of Lahinch with 270 members, who work regularly with Clean Coasts group Keep Lahinch Clean, and host beach cleans in the area.

In particular, the junior board riders in the club are very active participants in these beach cleaning events and take great pride in participating.

The work of Spanish Point Community group was also showcased during the ceremony, being one of the nominees in the group of the year category.

This year, the group got involved in a lot of activities, including the Big Beach Clean, Clean Coasts Rocky Shore Safari with David Wall of National Biodiversity Data Centre, #2minutebeachclean and Think Before You Flush, and many other sustainable campaigns.

The Ocean Hero Awards Ceremony and Ocean Talks were held this Tuesday, November 22, at Number 6 Kildare Street, in Dublin, to celebrate and thank the groups, individuals, communities, and businesses who, throughout the year, have done outstanding work to protect their local coastline and environment.

Each year, the Ocean Hero Awards honour the invaluable contribution Clean Coasts volunteers, groups and communities have made towards conserving our spectacular coastline. The awards, originally called the ‘Clean Coasts Merit Awards’, were conceived in 2006, consisting then of only one category, ‘The Clean Coasts Group of the Year’.

This year, Clean Coasts chose seven dedicated categories with a total of 28 groups, organisations and individuals shortlisted for the title of Ocean Hero within each category.

In addition to raising awareness about issues related to marine litter and relevant solution, this year the Clean Coasts programme put a particular focus on biodiversity.

This was reflected in the Ocean Talks, which were held on the same day as the Ocean Hero ceremony, giving attendees the opportunity to learn more about this topic.
Speakers included Timothy Butter from Seasearch, Dave Wall from National Biodiversity Centre, Proinsias O’Tuama from East Cork Biodiversity Network, Mícheál Callaghan from Community Wetlands Forum and Martha Farrell from Maharees Conservation Association.

Malcolm Noonan, Minister of State, was the keynote speaker of the event.

He said, “The Clean Coasts brand is intrinsically associated with environmental excellence and it is widely acknowledged that its community engagement initiatives and environmental campaigns are making a tangible difference to our coastal environment.

“The Ocean Hero Awards recognise the effort, dedication and commitment of individuals, volunteers, groups and the wider community to safeguard the future of our oceans.

“I am struck and heartened by the wide variety of entries and the amazing work that is going on around the length and breadth of the country.

“My Department will continue to support the Clean Coast range of programmes into 2023.  We consider these to be important national anti-marine litter and citizen activation measures which we will continue showcase internationally as examples of best practice.”.

Sinead McCoy, Clean Coasts manager said, “For the past 15 years, the Clean Coasts programme’s Ocean Hero Awards have been celebrating the incredible efforts of Clean Coasts volunteers around the Irish Coastline.

“We have nothing but awe and respect for the amazing groups and individuals highlighted in our shortlist for this year’s Ocean Hero Awards.

“We were delighted to have received so many inspirational nominations that show not only the true dedication of these coastal custodians, but also that their efforts don’t go unnoticed by the community.”

Further information on the Clean Coasts Ocean Heroes can be found on the Clean Coasts website.

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