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63 Tonnes of Marine Litter Removed in Ireland for the Big Beach Clean

19th September 2022
Volunteers helping clean the beaches
Volunteers helping clean the beach at Traught Beach, Co. Galway

Clean Coasts received overwhelming support and commitment from volunteers and communities across Ireland for the Big Beach Clean weekend that took place between 16th and 18th September.

This year, a record number of over 500 clean-ups were organised by volunteers who removed over 63 tonnes of litter nationwide.

Clean Coasts also joined forces with Irish business Cully and Sully, who supported the initiative again this year, and one of their registered group Clean Coasts Ballynamona, to host a flagship event at Ardnahinch, Co. Cork. Clean Coasts officers also attended beach cleans in several locations around Ireland.

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.

Big Beach Clean in Greystones, County Wicklow

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. 

Each year this initiative is also an opportunity for Big Beach Clean 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, help 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.  

Volunteers cleaning the beaches of Dungarvan

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.

For the third year, Cully and Sully joined Clean Coasts as sponsors of this call-to-action. 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. This is one of our favourite initiatives across the year and it was so heartwarming to see the great turn out yet again for 2022.”

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 recycling webpage at: https://cleancoasts.org/how-to-recycle/

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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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