02 Oct 2022

Donegal groups lift an estimated 1.8 tonnes of litter from local beaches last weekend

Clean Coasts received overwhelming local support

Donegal groups lift an estimated 1.8 tonnes of litter from local beaches last weekend

The Falcarragh Clean Coasts group hard at work

Donegal volunteers and communities rose to the challenge of last weekend's Big Beach Clean-Up weekend and collected an estimated 1.8 tonnes of litter from local beaches.

This annual call to action runs as part of the International Coastal Clean-Up (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 from entering our waterways and 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 Donegal, 25 groups banded together to carry out clean-up events removing an estimated 1.8 tonnes of litter over the weekend. Among these groups, we were joined by Bundoran Community Development CLG, Dooey Beach Clean Coast Group, Grupa Costa Fhanada, Donegal Town Tidy Towns, Falcarragh Clean Coasts group and other groups and individuals.

These groups tackled litter in several locations, including Bundoran Beach, Doneagl Pier, Rathmullan, Arranmore, Rossnowlagh, Buncrana, Muckross and more.

There was big turn out for the Arranmore Island Big Beach Clean-up on September 16. Clean Coasts officer Olivia Jones joined these volunteers and remove marine litter from several beaches in the area. They also benefitted from great coordination by CFFAM, including Peter O'Donnell and Scoil Athphoirt.

Falcarragh Clean Coasts group was also out on Sunday, September 18, removing several bags of marine litter. The group found the most common marine litter item on their beach to be pieces of glass and removed several buckets of broken glass.

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

If you’re curious about recycling basics, common beach finds and how to dispose of them, what happens to the waste, stats on recycling in Ireland, and more, head to the recycling webpage at:

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