John Daly

Irish Examiner - Supplement - - KINSALE - CLEAN COAST WEEK

Clean Coast Week — which be­gan on June 3 and which con­tin­ues un­til June 15 — is de­signed to ad­dress the mil­lions of tonnes of marine lit­ter en­ter­ing our seas and oceans, re­sult­ing in en­vi­ron­men­tal, eco­nomic, health and aes­thetic chal­lenges.

Clean Coasts are invit­ing vol­un­teers to join this global coastal clean-up help­ing re­move marine lit­ter from our coast­line, and in turn pro­tect­ing coastal habi­tats and marine life.

In pre­vi­ous years, more than 100 events were or­gan­ised with an es­ti­mated 800,000 vol­un­teers par­tic­i­pat­ing in­ter­na­tion­ally — suc­cess­fully col­lect­ing more than 8 mil­lion kilo­grams of lit­ter.

Clean Coasts is made up of two el­e­ments; Clean Coasts vol­un­teer­ing and the Green Coast Award.

The aim of the Green Coast Award is to recog­nise beaches of high en­vi­ron­men­tal qual­ity, and must have ex­cel­lent wa­ter qual­ity as well as an ef­fec­tive and ap­pro­pri­ate man­age­ment to en­sure the pro­tec­tion of the nat­u­ral en­vi­ron­ment.

The Clean Coasts vol­un­teer­ing ef­fort en­gages com­mu­ni­ties in the pro­tec­tion and con­ser­va­tion of their lo­cal coastal en­vi­ron­ment.

There are cur­rently more than 500 reg­is­tered Clean Coasts groups, who, in 2015 re­moved over a half a mil­lion pieces of marine lit­ter from the coast of Ire­land.

In an as­so­ci­ated devel­op­ment, Bord Ias­caigh Mhara is cur­rently sup­port­ing three fish­ing ports to es­tab­lish the ‘Fish­ing for Lit­ter’ project — an ini­tia­tive that en­cour­ages fish­er­men to take ashore the lit­ter they en­counter at sea in the course of their work.

Some 24 trawlers in three key ports — Clogher­head, Castle­town­bere and Union Hall — are cur­rently tak­ing part in the pilot ini­tia­tive. With the over­all aim of re­duc­ing plas­tic in the ocean and its threat to sea life and marine habi­tats, re­search es­ti­mates that 80% of mar­itime waste is plas­tic.

BIM pro­vides ves­sels with large heavy duty bags to col­lect marine lit­ter caught in their nets, and which are de­posited on the quay­side for col­lec­tion and dis­posal or­gan­ised by BIM and lo­cal port au­thor­i­ties.

“We have the Fish­ing for Lit­ter bag set near the con­veyor and it’s easy for the crew to pick out the marine lit­ter and throw it in the bag as they pick out the catch,” says Alan Smith, skip­per of the Celtic War­rior.

“We work with the Clogher­head Devel­op­ment Group in keep­ing the pier tidy and are happy to do our part, keep­ing not only the sea, but our fish­ing grounds clean and healthy”.

BIM aims to build on this pilot ini­tia­tive to 50 ves­sels. The scheme is al­ready ac­tive and highly suc­cess­ful in the UK and Scot­land and un­der­pins EU leg­is­la­tion sup­port­ing the pro­tec­tion and sus­tain­able use of the marine en­vi­ron­ment.

Michael Keatinge, BIM’s Di­rec­tor of Fish­eries Devel­op­ment, em­pha­sises the im­por­tance of the scheme: “The scheme un­der­pins the Marine Strat­egy Frame­work Di­rec­tive, Europe’s cur­rent key piece of leg­is­la­tion sup­port­ing the pro­tec­tion and sus­tain­able use of the marine en­vi­ron­ment. One of the key ob­jec­tives is to re­duce plas­tic in the ocean, which this scheme can do at a very prac­ti­cal level.

“Sustainability is a key driver and pri­or­ity for BIM and our fish­ing in­dus­try. Par­tic­i­pa­tion in this ini­tia­tive can gain recog­ni­tion for mem­ber ves­sels and their crews as Fish­ing for Lit­ter con­trib­utes to BIM’s Cer­ti­fi­ca­tion and Sustainability pro­grammes and Bord Bia’s Ori­gin Green sustainability char­ter.”

View from the light­house on the Old Head of Kin­sale look­ing to­wards Gar­rettstown. Pic: Dan Line­han

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