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04 Oct 2022

Louth volunteers remove almost 2.7 tonnes of litter during Big Beach Clean

Over 470 volunteers from Louth joined Clean Coasts latest call to action at the weekend

Louth volunteers remove almost 2.7 tonnes of litter during Big Beach Clean

Dundalk Tidy Towns hosted cleanup three clean-ups over the weekend,

Clean Coasts received overwhelming support and commitment from Louth volunteers and communities for the Big Beach Clean weekend took place from 16-18 September. 

The Big Beach Clean is 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. 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.  

This year, a record number of over 500 clean-ups were organised by volunteers who removed over 63 tonnes of litter nationwide. In Louth, 17 groups banded together to host cleanups removing an estimated 2.7 tonnes of litter. Among these groups, we were joined by Carlingford Tidy Towns, St. John's National School, Dundalk Tidy Towns, Climate Action at St. Oliver's Community College in Drogheda, Clogheread volunteers, Cooley Community Alert/ Peninsula Marine Litter Project and other groups, individuals, households and businesses.  

These groups tackled litter in different locations such as Ballinamara, Omeath, Carlingford Harbour, Clogheread, Gyles Quay, Rockmarshall and more. Clean Coasts group Dundalk Tidy Towns hosted cleanup three clean-ups over the weekend, on 16, 17 and 18 September along the Castle River Walk to prevent litter making its way to our coast. 

Second year and TY students from Climate Action at St. Oliver's Community College in Drogheda, joined the Big Beach Clean on Saturday 17 September, removing marine litter and filling in the Clean Coasts marine litter data cards to collect data about the types and quantities of marine litter found.  A small group of volunteers joined Clean Coasts officer Aidan Gray on Clogheread Beach in County Louth for the Big Beach Clean, on Saturday 17th September, removing over 10kg of marine litter. The top finds included bottle caps, balloon strings, cotton bud sticks and small fishing litter. 

Clean Coasts groups Cooley Community Alert and Peninsula Marine Litter Project once more joined forces for their Big Beach Clean event on Sunday 18th September at the Flagstaff, removing litter and completing their marine litter surveys.

Each year this initiative is also an opportunity for Big Beach Clean Louth 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.   

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. Cullen Allen (Cully) said, ““We were delighted with yet another amazing Big Beach Clean weekend. The Clean Coasts staff and volunteers were fantastic across the weekend, although we know many are out every weekend of the year. not just Big Beach Clean weekend. So Thank You all. This is one of our favourite initiatives across the year and it was so heartwarming to see the great turn out yet again for 2022.” 

Clean Coasts and Cully and Sully have also teamed up to create some resources to help people educate themselves on which household items are recyclable, which ones aren't and how to correctly dispose of rubbish in your home as well as rubbish found on the beach. If you’re curious about recycling basics, common beach finds and how to dispose of them, what happens to our waste, stats on recycling in Ireland and more, head to recycling webpage at: https://cleancoasts.org/how- to-recycle/  

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