Louth based Clean Coasts group Cooley Community Alert have been tackling plastic pollution on their local beach for 20 years.
The group have many dedicated volunteers from throughout Louth and the surrounding counties who have joined them on bi-weekly clean ups.
On these clean-ups, Cooley Community Alert have been finding plastic bottles, wrappers and packaging, and a lot of small plastic bits and pieces.
The group stated that plastic, in one form or another, is their most collected item on beach cleans.
These plastic items can harm marine life, as they can get entangled in plastic items or ingest them.
As a group, reducing plastic has been on top of their agenda and the group supports and promotes the local County Council initiative for the installation of water bottle refill stations, aimed at reducing plastic waste.
Recent statistics show that Ireland is the number one plastic waste producer in the European Union, with 54kg of plastic waste per person produced each year, as well as being the country with the fourth lowest recycling rate.
The #BreakUpWithPlastic initiative aims to raise awareness of the impact of plastic pollution on our planet and marine environment by asking people to stop opting for single-use plastic.
Speaking about the campaign, Sinead McCoy, Clean Coasts said:
“We once again are asking people to stop and think how they are using plastic and to educate themselves about plastic and its impact.
“If we continue with the use of plastic as a single use item, we will continue to create immense waste issues and high demands on our natural environment.
“We need now more than ever before to discover ways to move away from the overly convenient individually packaged lifestyle we have adopted and find a way to break up with single use plastic.”
Sinead continued to say:
“We realise it can be difficult to make the break from single use, so for anybody starting the journey towards new, reusable, long-lasting loves, we have tips and hints on our website to get you started.”
Throughout the month of February, to celebrate Valentine’s Day, Clean Coasts, alongside the Think Before You Flush campaign, will be sharing tips and resources to help people around Ireland to end their toxic relation with single-use plastic and find themselves a better match.
Think Before You Flush is a public awareness campaign tackling the issue of sanitary waste projects being disposed of incorrectly.
Everyday thousands of wet wipes, cotton buds, sanitary products and other unsuitable items are flushed down toilets in Ireland instead of being put in the bin, causing blockages and plastic pollution in rivers, on beaches and in the ocean.
Think Before You Flush is operated by Clean Coasts and run in partnership with Irish Water.
Clean Coasts and Think Before You Flush will be sharing on social media and their website some downloadable resources, easy daily swaps, blog posts and more.
In addition, Clean Coasts and the Think Before You Flush campaign will be hosting an Instagram Live session on 14th February at 12:30pm to discuss the impact of plastic on the marine environment, how to reduce plastic within our communities and actions that can be taken to protect our ocean from home.
Active participation of just 3.5% of the Irish population can bring about change – so imagine what could be achieved with more. Breaking up with plastic may seem daunting at first, but we’re here to help.
Check out how other people have already made the switch on social media @CleanCoasts and try out these top tips for Valentine’s Day below. All positive actions make a difference!
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