Media Contact: Annabel FitzGerald
Clean Coasts’ Big Beach Clean
Be part of the world’s largest coastal cleanup
Clean Coasts’ Big Beach Clean is taking place this weekend all over Ireland. Clean Coasts is teaming up with the International Ocean Conservancy again for the International Coastal Cleanup event. Last year 645,015 volunteers in 92 countries removed 5,580 tonnes of marine litter from the world’s oceans.
During the Big Beach Clean, Clean Coasts volunteers are asked to carry out marine litter surveys to quantify the amount and types of marine litter on Irish beaches. These surveys are aimed at heightening awareness about the issue of marine litter and serve as an indicator of the magnitude of the problem.
There are already 100 cleanups scheduled to take place and if you are not able to make it to any of these why not do your very own #2MinuteBeachClean! Take a picture of what you collect, tag it and post it to instagram or twitter, simple!
Speaking about the Big Beach Clean, Annabel FitzGerald, Clean Coasts National Manager said, “Marine litter is a global concern, affecting all the oceans of the world. Every year, millions of tonnes of litter end up in our seas and oceans, posing environmental, economic, health and aesthetic challenges. Ireland boasts spectacular sandy beaches and rocky shores and we all have a responsibility in caring for it. Every single piece of litter removed during the Big Beach Clean is one less piece of litter that will pollute our beautiful beaches or harm wildlife.”
Clean Coasts Ambassador, Easkey Britton spoke about her support of the Big Beach Clean, “The ocean is important – our personal health and wellbeing is so interconnected with the health of our coasts and ocean but it’s in trouble. Marine litter is a big issue but each one of us has the power to do something about it and make a real impact for our health and the ocean’s. Take action now and register for the Big Beach Clean!”
Join the movement for litter free seas and register a cleanup for the Big Beach Clean weekend www.bigbeachclean.ie
Clean Coasts is operated by the Environmental Education Unit of An Taisce and is funded by the Department of the Environment, Community & Local Government, Fáilte Ireland and Coca-Cola.
Notes to the Editor:
Clean Coasts Ambassador Easkey Britton shows her support for the #BigBeachClean which takes place on 19th, 20th & 21st September 2014 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7FVeLj7GdZs
Clean Coasts engages communities in the protection of Ireland’s beaches, seas and marine life. The programme is operated by the Environmental Education Unit of An Taisce and is currently funded by the Department of the Environment, Community & Local Government, Coca-Cola and Fáilte Ireland.
Clean Coasts is made up of two elements; Clean Coasts volunteering and the Green Coast Award. The Green Coast Award is an award for beaches that meet the excellent standard for water quality as set out in the revised Bathing Water Directive (EC 2006/7/EC) but may not have the necessary built infrastructure to achieve Blue Flag status. An important element of this award is that these beaches have a beach management plan in place and that the local community are engaged in this process.
The Clean Coasts volunteering effort engages communities in the protection and conservation of their local coastal environment. There are currently 403 registered Clean Coasts groups. There are a variety of group types such as community groups, residents associations, tidy towns groups, sports clubs, schools, businesses, universities etc. Clean Coasts organises hundreds of beach clean-ups annually mobilising thousands of volunteers, removing considerable quantities of marine litter from Ireland’s beaches and waterways.
The Marine Litter we find
We estimate that in 2013 Clean Coasts groups removed a half a million pieces of marine litter from the coast of Ireland. During Clean Coasts Week in May and The Big Beach Clean in September Clean Coasts volunteers carry out marine litter surveys to quantify the abundance and types of marine litter on Irish beaches. These surveys are aimed at heightening awareness about the issue of marine litter and serve as an indicator of the magnitude of the problem.
We have found that plastic bottle caps tend to be the number one culprit. Plastic bottles, aluminium drinks cans and cigarette butts tend to be amongst the highest ranking litter items found. Other common items generally in the top ten include food packaging, sweet wrappers and fishing litter such as rope and string and sewage related debris/litter such as baby wipes and cotton bud sticks are also often in the top ten litter items found on Ireland’s beaches. We do also find some unusual items like a shopping trolley handle, a computer keyboard, shoes and even a steering wheel!