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School Removes 12 Tonnes OF Marine Litter From Cork Beaches

26th November 2015

To date students from St. Colman’s Community College in Midleton have removed more than 12 tonnes of marine litter from beaches, waterways and rivers across the East Cork area. In recognition of this outstanding achievement, St. Colman’s Community College was named ‘School of the Year’ by An Taisce at the Prestigious 2015 Clean Coasts Ocean Hero Awards – beating over 3,700 primary and secondary schools to take home the award.

“The students of St. Colman’s have been key to the removal of several tonnes of marine litter in the East Cork area, particularly near Ballycotton where they have been dealing with the ongoing issue of fly tipping. They have shown a keen interest in protecting their local beaches and promoting environmental issues in their school and throughout the local community. This has been achieved through awareness raising projects and a website they have put together documenting their action,” said Olivia Crossan, Clean Coasts Programme, An Taisce.

“I would like to congratulate the students and staff of St. Colman’s Community College on this tremendous achievement; the Clean Coasts Ocean Hero ‘School of the Year’ Award is a real acknowledgement of the school’s hard work and dedication shown to this project,” said Ted Owens, Chief Executive, Cork Education and Training Board.

“The Ocean Hero Awards are all about celebrating coastal custodians and inspiring others to join the movement for litter-free seas. St. Colman’s students are wonderful Clean Coast ambassadors and will no doubt inspire more schools to get involved in the movement,” added Olivia Crossan.

More than 870 students from the St. Colman’s school are involved in the initiative, in particular students from 2nd year. Students focused on Ballynamona Beach and the Wetlands Complex in the East Cork and documented their progress, and items recovered, on their website www.ballynamona.eu.

“We are absolutely delighted with this award, it is so important to educate our young people about the importance of protecting the local environment. An Taisce’s Clean Coasts programme is a fantastic way of educating schools and communities. The ‘Think Before You Flush’ programme in particular highlights the problem sanitary products and other items can cause in our marine environment and our wastewater systems if they are flushed down the toilet. Our students witnessed first-hand the harmful effect these products can have on the environment if flushed,” said Proinsias Ó Tuama, Teacher, St. Colman’s Community College.

“The students particularly enjoyed documenting the ‘retro rubbish’ that they found, including 7up bottles from the early 70’s and crisp packets from 2000. Our students are enhancing the value of the coastline by reducing the impact of litter and other environmental damage through this project and we are very proud of their work,” he added.

Published in Coastal Notes
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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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