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How One Girl Is Leading The Fight Against Litter In Dublin Bay

22nd November 2017
Flossie (right) and friend filling bags with junk from the breakwaters in Din Laoghaire Harbour earlier this month Flossie (right) and friend filling bags with junk from the breakwaters in Din Laoghaire Harbour earlier this month Photo: Dun Laoghaire Coast Guard/Facebook

#DublinBay - Litter in the water is a longstanding issue in Dun Laoghaire and Sandycove — but one local schoolgirl has taken it upon herself to do something about it.

Ten-year-old Flossie Donnelly started this past summer calling for volunteers to help clean up the sea shore at Sandycove every Friday evening, even designing her own poster to spread the word on social media and around the neighbourhood.

On her blog, Flossie writes that she was “really sad” that no one came to her first clean-up.

But a meeting at the Forty Foot the next day with county councillor Cormac Devlin led to the word spreading further in the local press.

“It’s very unusual that a child of her age approached an adult and a politician at that. That she is so environmentally aware is wonderful,” Cllr Devlin told the Dublin People in August.

By the end of the summer, Flossie was in charge of her own crew of volunteers helping to remove plastic debris that is dangerous to Dublin Bay’s marine life and local boaters alike.

Despite the shorter days and colder weather of late autumn and winter, Flossie is still leading regular coastal clean-ups and making friends along the way — including an Australian girl whose message she found in a bottle.

rubbish marine dun laoghaireMarine debris in Dun Laoghaire

More recently, Flossie was out on a RIB in Dun Laoghaire Harbour to clean up the breakwaters — filling three boats with rubbish and doing “a week’s work in a day”, according to Dun Laoghaire Coast Guard, who praised the “inspirational” girl for her efforts.

But the ambitious youngster isn’t stopping there, with plans to raise money for the installation of a Seabin automated cleaning system for the harbour, in what would be a first for Ireland.

Previously highlighted during Afloat.ie’s Rio Olympics coverage last year, the Seabin device has the potential to collect as many as 83,000 plastic bags or 20,000 plastic bottles each year.

That amounts to half a tonne of plastic annually, from visible debris to micro-plastics that threaten our protected species.

Britain’s first Seabin was recently installed at the pontoon of America’s Cup team Land Rover BAR in Portsmouth as part of a project to restore populations of oysters in the Solent.

Flossie and her beach cleaning squad will be hosting a table quiz at Fitzgerald’s Pub in Sandycove next Thursday 30 November to raise funds towards Dublin Bay’s first Seabin. For details see Flossie’s website HERE.

Published in Dublin Bay
MacDara Conroy

About The Author

MacDara Conroy

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MacDara Conroy is a contributor covering all things on the water, from boating and wildlife to science and business

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Dublin Bay

Dublin Bay on the east coast of Ireland stretches over seven kilometres, from Howth Head on its northern tip to Dalkey Island in the south. It's a place most Dubliners simply take for granted, and one of the capital's least visited places. But there's more going on out there than you'd imagine.

The biggest boating centre is at Dun Laoghaire Harbour on the Bay's south shore that is home to over 1,500 pleasure craft, four waterfront yacht clubs and Ireland's largest marina.

The bay is rather shallow with many sandbanks and rocky outcrops, and was notorious in the past for shipwrecks, especially when the wind was from the east. Until modern times, many ships and their passengers were lost along the treacherous coastline from Howth to Dun Laoghaire, less than a kilometre from shore. 

The Bay is a C-shaped inlet of the Irish Sea and is about 10 kilometres wide along its north-south base, and 7 km in length to its apex at the centre of the city of Dublin; stretching from Howth Head in the north to Dalkey Point in the south. North Bull Island is situated in the northwest part of the bay, where one of two major inshore sandbanks lie, and features a 5 km long sandy beach, Dollymount Strand, fronting an internationally recognised wildfowl reserve. Many of the rivers of Dublin reach the Irish Sea at Dublin Bay: the River Liffey, with the River Dodder flow received less than 1 km inland, River Tolka, and various smaller rivers and streams.

 

At A Glance – Dublin Bay

The Bay is a C-shaped inlet of the Irish Sea and is about 10 kilometres wide along its north-south base, and 7 km in length to its apex at the centre of the city of Dublin; stretching from Howth Head in the north to Dalkey Point in the south

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