30 Sept 2022

Clogherhead loses its clean status and is deemed 'moderately littered' in IBAL survey

Clogherhead loses its clean status and is deemed 'moderately littered' in IBAL survey

The annual nationwide survey by business group Irish Business Against Litter (IBAL) of beaches and harbours has shown Clogherhead to be deemed ‘moderately littered’, losing its clean status of last year.

The An Taisce report for Clogherhead stated: “The beach car park was well served by litter bins and generally very good with regard to litter. The most obvious litter presence (short-lie), though not a heavy presence, was at the beach area next to the car park with lower levels throughout the remainder of the beach. Signage relating to the beach and the immediate hinterland was in good condition; 2 Minute Beach Clean Board was well positioned and in good order. 

The provision of some 'closed' litter bins reduces the chances of foraging by wildlife and the orange signage 'Please Leave Nothing but Foot Prints' was eye-catching.”

Beaches, harbours, rivers and their immediate environs were monitored by An Taisce in June and July. While Tramore was again clean, many popular beaches slipped to ‘moderately littered’ status, among them Lahinch, Brittas Bay, Curracloe, Portmarnock, Strandhill and Clogherhead. Bundoran was again ‘littered’. By contrast, Salthill improved significantly. 

“Unfortunately the improvement observed at our beaches last year seems to have reversed this time round,” commented IBAL’s Conor Horgan. “We had hoped that the decline in Covid-related litter might bring an improvement in overall cleanliness, added to the fact that many who staycationed last year would have travelled abroad this summer. Our most popular beaches are not heavily littered, but they’re not as clean as they should be.”  

Covid-related litter on the decline …  but not coffee cups

Unsurprisingly there was a fall-off in Covid masks and gloves found, but also in alcohol-related litter which was linked to lockdown. Coffee cups remained a significant litter item, however, present in half of the areas surveyed. The most common forms of litter found by the assessors were cigarette butts, sweet wrappers and plastic bottles.

“Every day it seems we hear more of the dire consequences which marine litter, much of it plastic, holds for our planet,“ adds Mr Horgan. “We need to impress on people that simple individual actions such as discarding a coffee cup – or even a cigarette butt - have implications which stretch beyond the local environment.”  

With 10 million tonnes of plastic ending up in our oceans each year, it is estimated that there will be more plastic than fish in our oceans within 30 years. Research shows a single cigarette butt can contaminate up to 200 litres of water. 

Overall, litter levels are on the rise, with only 8 of 33 areas surveyed receiving the ‘Clean’ designation. Alongside its impact on tourism and recreation, IBAL is warning that coastal litter has grave implications for the future of our planet.

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