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An Taisce Calls for Coastal Clean Up

30th April 2014
An Taisce Calls for Coastal Clean Up

#cleancoasts – A call for volunteers to join Ireland's largest coastal clean-up and ensure Ireland's beaches are in ship shape was made today by An Taisce's Clean Coasts programme. That call was echoed by rugby legend Shane Byrne, Managing Director of AWD Waste Solutions Ltd who lined out at the launch of Coca-Cola Clean Coasts Week. Clean Coasts Week 2014 takes place from May 9th to May 18th and members of the public are invited to jump on board to make it the biggest yet.

Speaking at the launch Annabel FitzGerald, Coastal Programmes Manager, An Taisce said: "An Taisce's Clean Coasts programme organises hundreds of clean-ups mobilising thousands of volunteers who remove considerable quantities of marine litter from Ireland's environment. Raising public awareness is incredibly important when it comes to reducing marine litter and Clean Coasts' initiatives such as Coca-Cola Clean Coasts Week and #2minutebeachcleans are excellent for public participation and creating a sense of environmental responsibility. We are on course to make Clean Coasts Week 2014 Ireland's largest coastal clean-up event ever with 100 coastal clean-ups already registered." She added, "We are delighted to be working with the European Environment Agency this year and ask that all our Clean Coasts groups use the Marine LitterWatch app to record what they collect".

Clean Coasts Week was launched at Portmarnock Beach in Dublin today by Minister Fergus O'Dowd TD Minister of State at the Department of Environment, Community & Local Government. Speaking at the launch Minister O'Dowd said, "Ireland is famous internationally for its beautiful and scenic coastline, which supports rich ecosystems and vibrant economic activity. It is enjoyed by both visitors and locals alike. Tourism initiatives such as the Wild Atlantic Way plan to highlight the unique beauty of this natural asset. The damage done by this winter's storms, however, highlights its vulnerability. I would like to commend all who participate in this year's Clean Coasts week as it is such an important and worthwhile endeavor to protect and enhance such a valuable resource for the current and future generations."

Speaking at the launch, Erica Roseingrave, Public Affairs & Communications Manager, Coca-Cola Hellenic Ireland said, "The many clean-up events that take place during Coca-Cola Clean Coasts Week greatly benefit not only the local environment but also communities in which they take place. Clean-ups form a fantastic opportunity for thousands of volunteers to get out, be active and enjoy some fresh air and at the same time get to know their neighbours and make new friends. This social dimension of the Clean Coasts programme is one of its broader benefits and one of the reasons the groups are growing all the time. It's really positive and we're delighted to be part of it."

What's new during Coca-Cola Clean Coasts Week 2014?

1. The Marine LitterWatch App – Clean Coasts and the European Environment Agency
Marine litter is recognised as a growing pressure on coastal and marine environments. It has cross border impacts on wildlife and habitats as well as on human activities and health. It is a societal problem that needs our engagement. Reflecting on the need to fill data gaps as well as the aims of involving citizens in environmental issues such as marine litter, the European Environment Agency has developed the Marine LitterWatch app. Clean Coasts will be asking those who participate in Coca-Cola Clean Coasts Week to download the app and record what they collect. Each clean-up will have a unique code to make using the app easier.

2. Let's Clean Up Europe Day - May 10th
The Environmental Education Unit of An Taisce is the coordinator for Let's Clean Up Europe Day. Marine litter is entirely due to human activity, and therefore can and has to be controlled by human management. However, one community, one NGO or one country acting in isolation will not be the answer. The problem of marine litter should be addressed collectively across national boundaries and on May 10th Clean Coasts are delighted to be promoting Let's Clean Up Europe Day.

3. Beat the Microbead Day – May 16th
Clean Coasts will be launching their Beat the Microbead awareness raising initiative on May 16th. Microbeads are tiny particles of plastic are ingredients in thousands of personal care products sold around the world. These microbeads, hardly visible to the naked eye, flow straight from the bathroom drain into the sewage system. Wastewater treatment plants are not designed to filter out microbeads and so they end up in our oceans. Sea creatures absorb or eat microbeads. These microbeads are passed along the marine food chain. Since humans are ultimately at the top of this food chain, it is likely that we are also absorbing microbeads from the food we eat. Microbeads are not biodegradable and once they enter the marine environment, they are impossible to remove. www.beatthemicrobead.org

4. National #2minutebeachclean Day – May 17th
Clean Coasts are delighted to be holding Ireland's first every National #2minutebeachclean day as part of Coca-Cola Clean Coasts Week. Our aim is to engage as many people as possible in this BIG IMPACT initiative. On May 17th we are asking everyone who goes to the beach whether it's for a surf, swim or walk to do their very own #2minutebeachclean. Take a snap of the litter collected and post your snap on instagram/twitter/facebook with the tags @cleancoasts #2minutebeachclean. It's as easy as that and be in with a chance to win a Clean Coasts hoodie!

5. Marine Litter – A Work of Art!
Pick up a piece of marine litter from Cork Harbour and have it included in an international work of art! This event is organised by Clean Coasts and Marlisco Ireland in collaboration with international artist Mandy Barker to highlight the environmental issue of marine litter. During Clean Coasts week (9th- 18th May) there will be a series of beach clean-ups organised around the Cork Harbour area. During these beach cleans, volunteers will be asked to find a piece of litter that they would like included in a series of contemporary photographic art works created by international artist Mandy Barker. Mandy's pervious work has been exhibited worldwide and has featured in Time magazine. Mandy is undertaking a residency with the Sirius Art Centre in Cobh, County Cork during May. She will produce a series of work highlighting the marine litter issue and your litter item could be a part of her message!

To register a clean-up or find out more about Clean Coasts coastal celebration events please visit www.cleancoastsweek.ie

Published in Coastal Notes
Afloat.ie Team

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Coastal Notes Coastal Notes covers a broad spectrum of stories, events and developments in which some can be quirky and local in nature, while other stories are of national importance and are on-going, but whatever they are about, they need to be told.

Stories can be diverse and they can be influential, albeit some are more subtle than others in nature, while other events can be immediately felt. No more so felt, is firstly to those living along the coastal rim and rural isolated communities. Here the impact poses is increased to those directly linked with the sea, where daily lives are made from earning an income ashore and within coastal waters.

The topics in Coastal Notes can also be about the rare finding of sea-life creatures, a historic shipwreck lost to the passage of time and which has yet many a secret to tell. A trawler's net caught hauling more than fish but cannon balls dating to the Napoleonic era.

Also focusing the attention of Coastal Notes, are the maritime museums which are of national importance to maintaining access and knowledge of historical exhibits for future generations.

Equally to keep an eye on the present day, with activities of existing and planned projects in the pipeline from the wind and wave renewables sector and those of the energy exploration industry.

In addition Coastal Notes has many more angles to cover, be it the weekend boat leisure user taking a sedate cruise off a long straight beach on the coast beach and making a friend with a feathered companion along the way.

In complete contrast is to those who harvest the sea, using small boats based in harbours where infrastructure and safety poses an issue, before they set off to ply their trade at the foot of our highest sea cliffs along the rugged wild western seaboard.

It's all there, as Coastal Notes tells the stories that are arguably as varied to the environment from which they came from and indeed which shape people's interaction with the surrounding environment that is the natural world and our relationship with the sea.

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