independent

Monday 22 September 2014

Storm clean-up efforts bring local communities together

Published 22/01/2014 | 05:36

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Florian Walsh assisting in the clean-up on Connemoule Beach in Dún Chaoin. Photo courtesy of Florian Walsh Photography
Plastic debris washed up in the seaweed at Dingle Marina recently after the storms.

ASIDE from the physical havoc wreaked by the recent storms in West Kerry, the storms also left much of the Corca Dhuibhne shoreline littered with plastic debris as Mother Nature dumped our rubbish right back on our doorstep.

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This has however, in turn, managed to bring out the best in the community as locals took the initiative in organising clean-ups in an effort to restore the coast to its former glory.

Ventry Beach is looking pristine again after individuals and groups took to the strand to collect rubbish.

The sheer power of the sea also heaped huge amounts of plastic debris on Commenoule, but thanks to local photographer and surfer Florian Walsh and some of his friends the beach is now virtually litter free.

"Basically when I went back and saw the place I felt I had to clear the beach as it's my favourite place and it was a mess," said Florian.

"I moved everything from the beach up to the lower car-park with the help of my mother and called the environmental department of Kerry County Council who told me I could get bags, fill them up and bring them to the recycling centre. Finn Mac Donnell and his girlfriend Andrea Murinova also went back and lent a hand," Florian said.

After the issue of plastic debris was highlighted in The Kerryman last week primary school pupils at Scoil Iognáid Rís in Dingle also went on a major clean-up of the shore line near the Skellig Hotel last Friday.

"Over 40 full bags weighing a total of 380kg were recorded when the collection was taken to the West Kerry Amenity site in Lispole," Risteard MacLiam of Dingle Tidy Towns told The Kerryman. "Dingle Tidy Towns Group wishes to say a big thank you to all concerned and appeal to other groups to get involved in regular litter collections or other projects in their own areas."

"If we are to make a decent effort to become an all-year round tourist destination then the participation of people from all corners of the Dingle Peninsula will be very important indeed," he added.

These are just some of the clean-ups that took place locally and there is no doubt that there are many unsung heroes, young and old, that participated in the overall effort.

According to a spokesperson for Kerry County Council, if community groups engage in a clean-up they should gather the rubbish in one area and then contact their local area office about where they left it.

"Bags are available for clean ups – if KCC staff are available we will collect bags or groups can bring bags to one of the centres free of charge with prior agreement," advised Mícheál Ó Coileáin, environmental officer with Kerry County Council.

The Take3 initiative, which began in Australia and which has since gone global, was also launched in West Kerry last year after parts of Cuilín were left in a vile state after someone dumped bags of household rubbish on the shoreline. The initiative encourages people to pick up just three pieces of plastic for recycling every time they visit the coast, beach, rivers or the shore. More information is available at Facebook.com/Take3Ireland.

Kerryman

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