1.2 tonnes of litter lifted off the coast by Kildare volunteers over the weekend

The Big Beach Clean 2021 is spearheaded by the charity Clear Coasts

The Big Beach Clean 2021 is spearheaded by the charity Clear Coasts

In an uplifting development, 1.2 tonnes of litter was removed from nearby beaches by generous Kildare volunteers over the weekend.

The clean-up was part of the the Big Beach Clean 2021, and volunteers from the county were present in nine different locations as part of the operation which was led by the charity Clean Coasts.

This year, a record number of over 400 clean-ups were organised by volunteers who removed a total of 42 tonnes of litter across the country.

Another record came about over the weekend, as it was confirmed that more volunteers joined clean-ups facilitated by Clean Coasts officers in 8 different locations around Ireland. 

Speaking on the clean up's success,  Sinead McCoy, Coastal Communities Manager of Clean Coasts, 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.

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"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."

She continued: "This year, there was an over 5 per cent decrease in litter found across Ireland.

Overall this is an incredible improvement: 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!"

Clean Coasts have also said that the group as a whole was overwhelmed with the incredible support and commitment shown by communities across Ireland, and further extended thanks to An Taisce National Spring Clean programme, the Big Beach Clean was open to all residents of Ireland, including non-coastal counties for contributing to its most recent campaign.

According to Clean Coasts, statistics show that the number one cause of marine litter is litter dropped in towns and cities.

The group have since revealed that Big Beach Clean volunteers have also taken part in an excellent worldwide citizen science project that will help shape future policies and campaigns to help protect our ocean.

It entails collecting the amount and types of litter on Irish beaches and filling in Clean Coasts’ Marine Litter Data Cards. 

The aim of this project is to heighten awareness about the issue of marine litter and serve as an indicator of the magnitude of the problem.

The Big Beach Clean is an annual call-to-action organized by Clean Coasts that calls volunteers from communities all over Ireland getting involved to remove litter from our beautiful coast at the end of the bathing season, as part of the International Coastal Clean-up (ICC), which is operated on an international level by Ocean Conservancy. 

Clean Coasts is a charity programme, run through the Environmental Education Unit of An Taisce, which engages communities in the protection of Ireland’s beaches, seas and marine life.

For more information, visit www.cleancoasts/org.

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