Students take part in marine litter seminar
CLOSE to 200 Arklow students took part in a recent seminar on marine litter and measures to tackle littering and dumping on our beaches and elsewhere.
The 185 students – from Arklow CBS, Arklow Youthreach, Gaelcholaiste na Mara, St Mary’s College and The National Learning Network – heard three expert speakers talk about the issues of littering and dumping and what can be done to tackle the problem in Wicklow.
Lorraine Grant of Seiche Training gave a presentation on marine litter and its impact around the world while Ian Davis from the PURE project spoke about the problem of dumping in the uplands of Wicklow and Dublin. He also highlighted some of the work being done with schools and how the community response through the PURE Mile was helping to drive the dumpers away.
Camila Tunney from An Taisce’s Clean Coast programme spoke about the work being done to engage people in campaigns to prevent marine litter and keep beaches clean, including Coastcare, #2minutebeachclean, the Don’t Flush it and the ban the micro-bead campaigns.
Students were shown the impact plastics are having on the marine environment and actions to help prevent the proliferation of plastics at sea which has now reached a frightening scale. Experts predict the weight of plastics in our oceans will surpass the weight of fish by 2050, such is the growing level of pollution.
The seminar at the Arklow Bay Hotel was organised by Wicklow County Council in collaboration with the Wicklow Volunteer Centre and Arklow Coastcare and it included a clean-up of the beach in Enereilly beforehand by some of the students.
The seminar was funded by the Department of Climate Change and Environment’s new anti-dumping grant.
This required a twin approach, with funding for CCTV to catch the dumpers and also towards community engagement and clean-ups.
Several projects were funded with CCTV installed at a range of locations throughout rural and urban parts of the county. The Enereilly project has already produced some evidence which has been passed on to the waste enforcement team so that the appropriate action can be taken.
Fiona Downes for the local volunteer centre, Corey Bateman and Jim Callery from Wicklow County Council, Ian Davis from PURE, Lorraine Grant from Seiche training and An Taisce’s Camilla Tunney at the Youth Marine litter seminar in the Arklow bay hotel