*Volunteers in Seafield. 

A RECORD number of volunteers were out in force for annual Big Beach Clean weekend with an estimated 2.5 tonnes of litter collected in Clare.

Taking place between September 16th and 18th, the Big Beach Clean serves as an annual call to action that runs as part of the International Coastal Cleanup (ICC), operated internationally by Ocean Conservancy and invites communities and volunteers around the country to remove litter from around the Irish coast after the end of the bathing season.

This year, a record number of over 500 clean-ups were organised by volunteers who removed over 63 tonnes of litter nationwide.

In Clare, 25 groups banded together to carry out clean-up events removing in estimated 2.5 tonnes of litter over the weekend.

Among these groups, we were joined by Spanish Point Community Group, Brothers of Charity, Cappa Community Group, Scariff National School, Fanore Community Group, Ballvaughan Community Development Group/Tidy Towns, Ennistymon Tidy Towns and Connolly Tidy Village and other households, groups and individuals.

These groups, tackled litter in several locations, including Spanish Point, Whitestrand Miltown Malbay, Cappa, Scariff, Fanore, Bishops Quarter, Ennistymon River Region, Connolly and more.

Clean Coasts officer Dara Dever joined a group of volunteers in Seafield who carried out a litter pick and marine litter survey. The event was such a success that the volunteers decided to register as a permanent Clean Coasts group called Seafield Clare who hope to do regular clean ups in the future.

Each year this initiative is also an opportunity for Big Beach Clean Clare volunteers to get involved in a worldwide citizen science project, which entails collecting the amount and types of litter on Irish beaches and filling in Clean Coasts’ Marine Litter Data Cards to share with Ocean Conservancy, help heighten awareness about the issue of marine litter serving as an indicator of the magnitude of the problem and help shape future policies and campaigns.

Once more, volunteers were asked to join the call to action, no matter how far from the coast. 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.

So far, data collected from the International Coastal Cleanup have informed policy in a number of areas, leading to laws banning the use of plastic grocery bags; prohibiting smoking-related litter; encouraging the use of reusable bags; prohibiting mass balloon releases; and prohibiting foam food and beverage takeaway containers. Cully and Sully supported the initiative again this year.

 

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