VOLUNTEERS working on a number of Clare beaches and waterside locations at the weekend picked up over 2.5 tonnes of litter between them.
Clean Coasts, which organised the big beach clean-up between September 16 and 18 said it received overwhelming support and commitment from Clare volunteers and communities.
Twenty-five groups banded together to carry out clean-up events removing the litter over the weekend.
Among these groups, Clean Coasts volunteers were joined by Spanish Point Community Group, Brothers of Charity, Cappa Community Group, Scariff National School, Fanore Community Group, Ballvaughan Community Development Group/Tidy Towns, Ennistymon Tidy Towns and Connolly Tidy Village and other households, groups and individuals.
These groups, tackled litter in several locations, including Spanish Point, Whitestrand Miltown Malbay, Cappa, Scariff town, Fanore, Bishops Quarter, Ennistymon River Region, Connolly Village and more.
Clean Coasts officer Dara Dever joined a group of volunteers in Seafield who carried out a litter pick and marine litter survey.
The event was such a success that the volunteers decided to register as a permanent Clean Coasts group called Seafield Clare who hope to do regular clean ups in the future.
The Big Beach Clean is an annual call to action that runs as part of the International Coastal Cleanup (ICC), operated internationally by Ocean Conservancy and invites communities and volunteers around the country to remove litter from around the Irish coast after the end of the bathing season.
Once more, volunteers were asked to join the call to action, no matter how far from the coast.
Statistics show that the number one cause of marine litter is litter dropped in towns and cities and getting involved in the Big Beach Clean has been a way for residents of non-coastal counties to help prevent litter entering our waterways tackle the problem at its source.
This year, a record number of over 500 clean-ups were organised by volunteers who removed over 63 tonnes of litter nationwide.
Each year this initiative is also an opportunity for Big Beach Clean Clare volunteers to get involved in a worldwide citizen science project, which entails collecting the amount and types of litter on Irish beaches and filling in Clean Coasts’ Marine Litter Data Cards to share with Ocean Conservancy.
This helps heighten awareness about the issue of marine litter serving as an indicator of the magnitude of the problem and help shape future policies and campaigns.
So far, data collected from the International Coastal Cleanup have informed policy in a number of areas, leading to laws banning the use of plastic grocery bags; prohibiting smoking-related litter; encouraging the use of reusable bags; prohibiting mass balloon releases; and prohibiting foam food and beverage takeaway containers.
Cully and Sully supported the initiative again this year. Cullen Allen (Cully) said, “We were delighted with yet another amazing Big Beach Clean weekend. The Clean Coasts staff and volunteers were fantastic across the weekend, although we know many are out every weekend of the year, not just Big Beach Clean weekend. So, thank you all.”
Clean Coasts and Cully and Sully have also teamed up to create some resources to help people educate themselves on which household items are recyclable, which ones aren’t and how to correctly dispose of rubbish in your home as well as rubbish found on the beach.
If you’re curious about recycling basics, common beach finds and how to dispose of them, what happens to our waste, stats on recycling in Ireland and more, head to the recycling webpage at cleancoasts.org/how-to-recycle/