Young en­vi­ron­men­tal­ists clean up beach lit­ter

Irish Examiner - County - - News - Eoin English

An army of young en­vi­ron­men­tal­ists re­moved tonnes of rub­bish from sev­eral beaches along the east Cork coast in one of the sin­gle largest beach­clean blitzes in re­cent years.

The two-day coastal blitz in­volved more than 160 sec­ond-level stu­dents from two se­condary schools.

Tran­si­tion year stu­dents from St Col­man’s Com­mu­nity Col­lege in Mi­dle­ton and from Coláiste an Chroí Naofa in Car­raig na bhFear joined forces last Mon­day to tackle Bal­ly­croneen and Bally­brana­gan beaches in a mas­sive beach-clean or­gan­ised by award-win­ning en­vi­ron­ment- al group, Clean Coasts Bal­ly­na­mona.

They spent sev­eral hours scour­ing the beach, rocky out­crops and dunes, and col­lected a to­tal of 101 bags of rub­bish, 13 tyres, fish­ing boxes and sev­eral mounds of old rope fish­ing nets, some up to 40-year­sold.

It took nearly a dozen stu­dents al­most half an hour to dig one large fish­ing net out of the sand. They also re­cov­ered a lot of sewage-re­lated lit­ter in­clud­ing cot­ton bud tips and other var­i­ous san­i­tary items.

Al­most 50 TY stu­dents from St Col­man’s hit four beaches last Tues­day — Pil­more, Red­barn, Clay­cas­tle and Front Strand in Youghal.

A sec­tion of wire fenc­ing, buried up to three feet in sand, was among the lit­ter re­moved.

Clean Coast Bal­ly­na­mona co­or­di­na­tor, Proin­sias Ó Tuama, praised all the stu­dents for their ef­forts and en­thu­si­asm.

“We know we have a prob­lem with ma­rine lit­ter and with plas­tic in par­tic­u­lar, and it’s up to stu­dents like this, as the next gen­er­a­tion, to take re­spon­si­bil­ity,” he said.

“Maybe if you can get them think­ing about where lit­ter comes from and is go­ing, then maybe you can help them to make bet­ter en­vi­ron­men­tal de­ci­sions — like do I have to buy a prod­uct wrapped in all that plas­tic.”

Shauna Neff, Abi­gail Hen­nessy, and Jack McFar­lane, front, with teacher Emily McHarg, in­volved in the beach clean in Youghal last week.

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