AFTER a break in 2020, the Big Beach Clean took place between 17th and 19th September and Clean Coasts were overwhelmed with the incredible support and commitment shown in Waterford over the weekend.
The Big Beach Clean is an annual call to action which takes place at the end of the summer bathing season. In county Waterford, volunteers organised clean-ups in six different locations, removing over 500 kg of litter.
Moreover, Clean Coasts joined Clean Coasts groups in several locations in the region, including Tramore, where two local groups — Tramore Tidy Towns and Tramore Eco Group — hosted two fantastic and very successful beach clean events, also as part of Vitamin Sea Festival.
This year, a record number of over 400 clean-ups were organised by volunteers who removed 42 tonnes of litter across the country. In addition, more volunteers joined clean-ups facilitated by Clean Coasts officers in eight different locations around Ireland.
Sinead McCoy, Coastal Communities Manager, said: “After a break in 2020 due to Covid, we were excited to host the Big Beach Clean again, but we didn’t know what to expect. This year there was a significant increase in clean-ups organised, but in a different format: we saw more people registering for clean-ups as individuals or within their household.”
Sinead continued: “This year, there was an over 5% decrease in litter found across Ireland. Overall this is an incredible improvement.
over 5% decrease in litter found across Ireland
“The work that Irish volunteers do all year round to tackle litter and less waste dropped by more conscious beach users mean that we are heading in the right direction!”
Big Beach Clean volunteers have also taken part in an excellent worldwide citizen science project, which will help shape future policies and campaigns to help protect our oceans.
The project entails collecting litter on Irish beaches and filling in Clean Coasts’ Marine Litter Data Cards.
This will help heighten awareness about the issue of marine litter and serve as an indicator of the magnitude of the problem.
Once more, volunteers were asked to join the call to action, no matter how far from the coast, thanks to the involvement of An Taisce National Spring Clean programme.
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.
Meanwhile, Cully and Sully supported the Big Beach Clean initiative again this year. “We were blown away by the amazing response to this year’s Big Beach Clean”, they said.