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Over 230 Clean-Ups Set to Take Place this World Ocean Day

8th June 2022
Seapoint Marram Grass Planting in Co Louth in May 2022
Seapoint Marram Grass Planting in Co Louth in May 2022

Thousands of volunteers answered Clean Coasts and National Spring Clean joint call-to-action to organise a clean-up to protect our ocean today, June 8th. 

Last May, Irish environmental charity Clean Coasts joined forces with National Spring Clean, to provide communities around Ireland with free clean-up kits to host a clean-up during the week around World Ocean Day.

World Ocean Day is celebrated annually on June 8th to highlight the important role the ocean has for our life and the planet. In 2022, the focus will once more be on the 30x30 campaign: to create a healthy ocean with abundant wildlife and to stabilize the climate, it is critical that 30% of our planet’s lands, waters, and ocean are protected by 2030.

One of the issues affecting our ocean is marine litter which has become a global problem for both humans and marine life. However, communities around Ireland have demonstrated their desire to be part of the solution by taking part in several beach cleaning and clean-up calls to action.

Volunteers who registered online received a clean-up kit to roganise a beach clean for World Ocean Day. Photo: Clean Coasts Ballynamona by Cathal NoonanVolunteers who registered online received a clean-up kit to organise a beach clean for World Ocean Day. Photo: Clean Coasts Ballynamona by Cathal Noonan

Statistics show that the number one cause of marine litter is litter dropped in towns and cities. Building on the success of the Spring Clean 22 campaign, which took place in the month of April and saw 500,000 volunteers organising over 5,600 clean-ups, the National Spring Clean programme is joining Clean Coasts this year in supporting these communities around Ireland.

Sinead McCoy, Coastal Communities Manager said: “We were so overwhelmed with the support received from the public. In under 72 hours over 230 clean-ups had already registered on the Clean Coasts website. Now over 4,000 volunteers are set to take action for World Ocean Day by organising or joining a clean-up event around Ireland.”

Volunteers who didn’t manage to secure a clean-up kit can still take action by joining an existing clean-up, a list of which can be found on the Clean Coasts website.

World Ocean Day events are happening in the context of a very few busy months for the organisation, which saw other initiatives to protect and learn more about the ocean being launched recently. These initiatives included the launch of our Enjoy and Protect campaign and several events, such as SUP clean-ups or surf lessons followed by a #2minutebeachclean around all the coast of Ireland. In addition to that, Clean Coasts joined Galway City Council for a #TeamSeas clean-up of the Claddagh Basin and lower Eglington Canal, where over 2 tonnes of litter were removed from an area that would normally be hard to clean. Other events include the release of two marine biodiversity directories, the launch of our Love Your Coast Photography Competition, marram grass planting events and more.

Team Seas Clean up

Finally, to celebrate World Ocean Day and following the launch of two Marine Biodiversity directories last month, yesterday Clean Coasts has also issued a fourth Enjoy and Protect guide about wildlife photography, specifically designed not just for amateur photographers wishing to enter the Love Your Coast Photography competition, but also for the general public who wish to capture the beauty of our coastline while doing something to protect it. [See editor's notes for details]

In 2021, the initiative changed its name from “World Oceans Day” to “World Ocean Day”. By dropping the “s”, its organisers wanted to highlight the fact that we are all connected by a large ocean. This shared ocean supports all life on the planet, by producing most of the oxygen we breathe and regulating climate. No matter where we live, we all depend on the ocean to survive.

This means that each piece of marine litter removed from a beach, river, lake, park or street in Ireland, will have a positive impact on a global scale.

Other Clean Coasts events and initiatives this summer 

Enjoy and Protect (guides) 

With the ‘Enjoy and Protect’ campaign, Clean Coasts are asking people to enjoy and celebrate our stunning coastline, beautiful beaches, epic cliffs and all outdoor areas, but also to protect these natural treasures. Get out and make the most of Ireland’s wonderful coast, but also do your part to preserve our marine environment and keep it safe and beautiful for future generations to enjoy too, with simple actions and small lifestyle changes. More info here.

Enjoy and Protect (events)

To celebrate the launch of the ‘Enjoy and Protect’ campaign, we have been hosting a series of events in Ireland, including a SUP clean-up of the Dun Laoghaire Harbour and a Surf Lesson and #2minutebeachclean in Strandhill, co. Sligo.

Love Your Coast

The 13th Clean Coasts’ Love Your Coast photography competition is now open for entries. Amateur photographers were invited to capture the uniqueness of our coastal communities, environments, or waterways and enter their best shots over the past couple of months. 

There is a prize fund of €5,000, up for grabs across five categories: Coastal Heritage, Coastal Landscape, People & the Coast, Wildlife & the Coast and Creativity and the Coast. More info here. 


As part of Ocean Conservancy #TeamSeas Project, Clean Coasts and Galway City Council partnered up to support a clean-up of the Claddagh Basin and lower Eglington Canal, where over 2 tonnes of litter were removed from an area that would normally be hard to clean.

As part of this project, the Lower Eglinton Canal and Claddagh Basin were drained, and litter was removed by a professional contractor. This has removed a significant amount of litter from our waterways and stopped it from herebreaking down further. 

Love Your Beach Week

Clean Coasts are delighted to once more partner with Galway City Council for Love Your Beach Week, which will launch on June 8th.

The week entails a series of beach cleans and other events, such as workshops, talks on biodiversity and climate change, music and beach volley. More info here. 

Cork Harbour Festival 

Cork Harbour Festival returns this June 3-13 with over 50 amazing events in 15 beautiful locations across Cork City & Harbour, to celebrate Cork’s unique maritime heritage as the second largest natural harbour in the world.

For this event, Clean Coasts will join forces with Cork County and City Councils and Subowti for a Kayak & SUP River Clean Up. More info here 

Wild Roots

Last weekend, June 3 – 5, Clean Coasts promoted simple actions to protect our environment at Wild Roots festival in Sligo. Wild Roots is an art, music and adventure festival taking place for the first time set in the stunning Hazelwood area, protected by ancient woodland and close to the tranquil waters of Lough Gill. As well as performances from international and local acts, there was stand up paddle boarding, kayak tours, sailing and boat tours on Lough Gill. Clean Coasts were at the shop street area talking about the Think Before You Flush campaign that we operate in partnership with Irish Water, as well as ways to get involved with the Clean Coasts programme. We had games, prizes, #2minutebeachclean and information on protecting our environment.

Brown Thomas Corporate volunteering

Earlier in June, Clean Coasts met the Brown Thomas team for a series of beach cleans in four different locations around Ireland as part of the organisation’s corporate volunteering programme.

Clean ups took place on Bull Island, co. Dublin, Galway City, Limerick City and Garretstown Beach, co. Cork, and participants removed a total of almost 50 kg of marine litter from the Irish Coast.


As one of this year’s chosen charities of PayPal, Clean Coasts has been working with employees from PayPal to develop a coastal programme in Co. Louth. The programme includes marram grass planting to combat erosion, family beach cleans event, beach information and interactive hubs, and looking into an online erosion monitoring model that can be used on the Clean Coasts website. There has also been cross-collaboration with local registered Clean Coasts groups in Co. Louth including Cooley Community Alert and Costa Aláinn Termonfeckin.

Marine Biodiversity Directories

To celebrate National Biodiversity Week in May, Clean Coasts released two marine biodiversity directories.

The Marine Zones and Habitats directory explores these zones and habitats a little further, from above the high tide line, right out to the edge of the continental shelf. Ireland’s coastline and marine environment is teeming with life, playing host to 24 species of whales and dolphins, 35 species of sharks, 2 species of seal, 24 species of seabirds, over 250 species of marine plants and hundreds of species of fish and invertebrates. The Marine Species directory talks about some of these species, where they can be found and more. More info here.

Wexford marram grass planting

Wexford County Council have made steps to combat erosion at some coastal beaches, including Morriscastle Strand. The dune beside the entrance to the beach has been suffering from quite severe erosion, so the Council arranged for chestnut pail fencing to be erected in sections that would help keep off people from any planting that could happen. Clean Coasts teamed up with Wexford County Council to do marram grass planting sessions within these fenced areas. The first day was with locals of Kilmuckridge and surrounding areas on 30th April, and the second day was with students from Colaiste an Atha, Kilmuckridge, on 19th May which the day before Morriscastle Strand received the 2022 Blue Flag Award.

School coastal education and action

Bettystown, Co. Meath – Teaming up with Bettystown Tidy Towns, Clean Coasts engaged with local schools around the local area to educate with marine topics and tackle marine litter. Clean Coasts facilitated workshops and beach cleans at Bettystown beach with these school groups: Drogheda Grammar School on 9th March, Colaiste na hInse on 16th March, Malta Services Drogheda on 29th March, Bettystown Youth Reach on 30th March, English Language Institute on 6th April, St. Oliver’s Community College on 27th April, and Scoil Oilibheir Naofa on 31st May. There are upcoming days with Slane N.S. and also a Clean Coasts stand for World Ocean Day festival on the 11th June.

Cooley, Co. Louth – Teaming up with Cooley Community Alert, Clean Coasts engaged with local schools around the local area to educate with marine topics and tackle marine litter. Clean Coasts facilitated workshops and beach cleans with Scoil Naomh Loran (Omeath) on 7th March, Rathcor N.S. (near Templetown) on 8th April, Knockbridge N.S. (Blackrock) on 4th May, and Muchgrange N.S. (Templetown) on 5th May. 

Marram Grass planting workshop in Portmarnock Beach

Clean Coasts hosted a Marram Grass planting workshop in Portmarnock, co. Dublin, In conjunction with Dublin CARO and Fingal County Council. Find more info here.

Published in Marine Wildlife Team

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Marine Wildlife Around Ireland One of the greatest memories of any day spent boating around the Irish coast is an encounter with marine wildlife.  It's a thrill for young and old to witness seabirds, seals, dolphins and whales right there in their own habitat. As boaters fortunate enough to have experienced it will testify even spotting a distant dorsal fin can be the highlight of any day afloat.  Was that a porpoise? Was it a whale? No matter how brief the glimpse it's a privilege to share the seas with Irish marine wildlife.

Thanks to the location of our beautiful little island, perched in the North Atlantic Ocean there appears to be no shortage of marine life to observe.

From whales to dolphins, seals, sharks and other ocean animals this page documents the most interesting accounts of marine wildlife around our shores. We're keen to receive your observations, your photos, links and youtube clips.

Boaters have a unique perspective and all those who go afloat, from inshore kayaking to offshore yacht racing that what they encounter can be of real value to specialist organisations such as the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) who compile a list of sightings and strandings. The IWDG knowledge base has increased over the past 21 years thanks in part at least to the observations of sailors, anglers, kayakers and boaters.

Thanks to the IWDG work we now know we share the seas with dozens of species who also call Ireland home. Here's the current list: Atlantic white-sided dolphin, beluga whale, blue whale, bottlenose dolphin, common dolphin, Cuvier's beaked whale, false killer whale, fin whale, Gervais' beaked whale, harbour porpoise, humpback whale, killer whale, minke whale, northern bottlenose whale, northern right whale, pilot whale, pygmy sperm whale, Risso's dolphin, sei whale, Sowerby's beaked whale, sperm whale, striped dolphin, True's beaked whale and white-beaked dolphin.

But as impressive as the species list is the IWDG believe there are still gaps in our knowledge. Next time you are out on the ocean waves keep a sharp look out!

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