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Registration open for the Big Beach Clean

Photo: Cathal Noonan

The Big Beach Clean initiative is back, and Clean Coasts, supported by Cully and Sully, are calling people all across Clare to register to receive clean-up kits and join the world biggest clean-up. 

In 2021, a record number of over 400 clean-ups were organised by volunteers who removed 42 tonnes of litter across the whole country. This represented a 5% decrease in litter found across Ireland, compared to the previous year campaign, which reflects the incredible work that Irish volunteers do all year round to tackle litter, as well as more conscious behaviours by beach users.

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Last year in county Clare, over 300 volunteers organised clean-ups in 16 different locations, removing approximately 1.6 tonnes of marine litter.

The Big Beach Clean is an annual call to action and this year it will run from 16th to 18th September, as part of the International Coastal Cleanup (ICC), operated internationally by Ocean Conservancy.  This call-to-action invites communities and volunteers around the country to remove litter from around the Irish coast after the end of the bathing season. This initiative is also an opportunity for 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. This will 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.

The 2021 results have been shared with Ocean Conservancy and, in Ireland and regionally in Clare, they have been used to shape Clean Coasts campaigns designed both for registered groups and the general public, tackling the top 10 offenders, such as cigarette butts, plastic bottles and food packaging.

This year, Clean Coasts are calling not only Clean Coasts groups and people who would traditionally be involved in environmental activities to join. Clean Coasts, with the support of Content Creators, are asking everybody in the community to get involved and find out more about the benefits of taking part in a beach clean and international citizen science project, which go beyond the environmental aspect of the initiative.

Aoife McNamara, fashion designer and founder of eco-conscious fashion brand Aoife Ireland joined us this year to help make a difference for our ocean by outlining how making smarter, sustainable choices in our clothing can help benefit our waterways and the marine life that occupy them.

Photo: Cathal Noonan

Deric Hartigan (TV presenter), James Kavanagh  (presenter and owner of food business Currabinny), and Niamh Maher (travel expert and blogger from Exploring Ireland) are also joining us this year to make a difference for our ocean and are hoping to inspire more people to sign up for the Big Beach Clean.

Our ocean supports livelihood and certain businesses, from hospitality to tourism, to fishing, and more depend on a clean and healthy ocean. People engaged in water sports, whether in a professional way or as a hobby, would join this call to action to protect their “playground”. Some artists might draw inspiration from the ocean, and, for this reason, they want to do something to protect it.

Coastal communities take pride in the beauty of the place they live in and want to keep it clean; moreover, a cleaner place to live means having better health and wellbeing. The ocean does a lot for our mental health and wellbeing, and so some participants might want to give something back to it. Finally, in the overall climate emergency, some people want to be an active part of the solution, and by taking part in this citizen science project, they will be able to play a key role in the establishment of future policies and campaigns.

Registration will again be open to all residents of Ireland, no matter how far from the coast they are based. Statistics show that the number one cause of marine litter is litter dropped in towns and cities. Getting involved in the Big Beach Clean is a way for residents of non-coastal counties to help prevent litter entering our waterways and seas by holding a clean-up no matter where they are in the country and tackling the problem at source.

As sea lovers and sustainability supporters, Cully and Sully are joining Clean Coasts again and are very excited to be supporting the Big Beach Clean.

Cullen Allen (Cully) said: “We are delighted to be back supporting the Big Beach Clean for 2022. This event has been growing every year and is certainly one of the most important events in the Cully & Sully diary. We are big beach & water fans in Cully & Sully and we fully realize the importance of keeping our beaches and waterways clean and useable for everyone to enjoy. We will be encouraging all of our customers and friends to sign up for Big Beach Clean 2022. Let’s make it the biggest Big Beach Clean yet.. get signing up now!”

Sinead McCoy, Coastal Communities Manager, stated: “The work carried out by Clean Coasts groups across Ireland throughout the year is amazing, and unfortunately very much needed during these times. We are asking Clean Coasts groups and any other group that would like to join the effort to sign up to partake in the Big Beach Clean, which runs on the 3rd weekend in September each year, and receive a free beach clean kit.

Last year we had a boost in clean ups with loads more areas on the coast, along lakes and riverways and in our town and villages being cleaned up, we are excited to build on this success and get even more volunteers out cleaning during weekend. This year you can find your local beach clean or sign up on cleancoasts.org.”

To register visit the Clean Coasts website at www.cleancoasts.org

Photo: Cathal Noonan

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. Clean Coasts works with communities to help protect and care for Ireland’s waterways, coastline, seas, ocean and marine life. Clean Coasts thrives to create tangible and immediate improvements to Ireland’s coastal environment, involving thousands of volunteers removing large quantities of marine litter from our coastline each year.

Clean Coasts has grown over the years and now includes two main national clean-up drives. Other initiatives include the Green Coast Award, the Love Your Coast Photography competition, the Clean Coasts Roadshows for coastal communities and the Ocean Hero Awards. All these initiatives are aimed at celebrating the beauty of our coast and the efforts of our volunteers across all of Ireland.

Currently, there are over 1800 registered Clean Coasts volunteering groups. There are a variety of group types such as community groups, residents’ associations, tidy towns groups, sports clubs, schools, businesses, universities etc. Clean Coasts organises hundreds of beach clean-ups annually mobilising thousands of volunteers, removing considerable quantities of marine litter from Ireland’s beaches and waterways.  Our volunteering has expanded to also include Corporate Volunteering.

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