Join Ireland’s Largest Ever Coastal Clean-up
Keep Ireland’s beaches in ship shape!
Portmarnock Beach, Dublin, 30th April 2014: 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 Clean Coasts Ireland. That call was echoed by rugby legend Shane Byrne, Managing Director of Waste Company AWD Group 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, Clean Coasts Manager, An Taisce said: “Clean Coasts groups removed over 500,000 pieces of marine litter from the coast of Ireland in 2013. 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, focusing the public’s attention on the issue of marine litter and creating a sense of environmental responsibility. These initiatives are underpinned by information and education which is critical to their success. We are on course to make Clean Coasts Week 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 Coast 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 program 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?
- The Marine LitterWatch App – Clean Coasts partnering with 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 (EEA) has developed the Marine LitterWatch (MLW) app. This approach combines citizen engagement and technology to help tackle the problem of marine litter. Clean Coasts will be asking those who participate in this year’s Coca-Cola Clean Coasts Week to download the app and record what they find during their clean up. Each group will be provided with a unique code for their clean-up event to make it easy for them to use the app.
- Let’s Clean Up Europe Day – May 10th
The Environmental Education Unit is the coordinator for Let’s Clean Up Europe Day and is promoting the event through our long established programmes such as Clean Coasts, Green-Schools, Green Campus and the National Spring Clean. 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. Lots of clean-up initiatives have been organised in Europe in recent years to tackle the litter problem. “Let’s Clean Up Europe Day” is about bringing these initiatives together in a Europe-wide clean-up event to take place on the same day all over the continent, reaching as many citizens as possible.
- Beat the Microbead Day – May 16th
Clean Coasts will be launching the 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.
- 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!
- 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 marine 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
Approximately 10 million tonnes of litter end up in the world’s oceans and seas each year. The term “marine litter” covers a range of materials which have been deliberately discarded, or accidentally lost on shore or at sea, and it includes materials that are carried out to sea from land, rivers, drainage and sewerage systems, or the wind. Every piece of litter removed from the coast is a piece of litter that won’t pollute our oceans or harm wildlife. In Ireland approximately 70% of the marine litter found is made of plastic.
We must be cognisant of the fact that what we find on our beaches is not the full extent of the marine litter load in the environment. It is estimated that 70% of marine litter is on the seabed, 15% is floating in the water column and 15% is what we find on our shores.
Clean Coasts Ireland is owned and operated by the Environmental Education Unit of An Taisce – the National Trust for Ireland. It is funded by the Department of the Environment, Community & Local Government, Coca-Cola and Fáilte Ireland. It has been operating in Ireland for 11 years and engages 400 Clean Coasts groups and thousands of beach users. The Green Coast award is also part of the Clean Coasts programme and is an award for beaches that have excellent water quality but may not have the necessary built infrastructure to be eligible for the Blue Flag award.
Coca-Cola is Ireland’s largest manufacturer of premium non-alcoholic beverages and supplies a range of sparkling carbonated beverages, juices, mineral water and still drinks in the Irish marketplace. Overall, Coca-Cola employs 1900 across Ireland and Northern Ireland in locations including Dublin, Cork, Tuam, Ballina, Wexford, Athy, Drogheda, Lisburn and Omagh. Investing in the community and minimising environmental impact and ensuring resource sustainability in areas such water, energy and packaging is a key focus for Coca-Cola. Coca-Cola has also invested in an innovative green-tech Combined Heat and Power (CHP) plant at its Irish production facility in Lisburn – the first quad-generation CHP plant in Britain or Ireland.