independent

Friday 25 April 2014

Volunteers clean up beach rubbish

Voluntary litter-pickers pack up the rubbish collected at the Maharees over the weekend.

OVER 80 large bags of rubbish were cleared from Kerry beaches over the weekend, giving an indication of the growing threat of litter to our coastal environment.

OVER 80 large bags of rubbish were cleared from Kerry beaches over the weekend, giving an indication of the growing threat of litter to our coastal environment.

The clean-up particularly highlighted the prevalence of dangerous plastics on our shores – material that can kill and cause serious harm to seabirds and marine animals.

But thanks to the hard work of a small army of volunteers on Saturday and Sunday, both the Maharees and Banna are in a far healthier state this week.

Undertaken as part of An Taisce's Clean Coasts Christmas Clean-Up campaign, the operation saw scores of volunteers coming out to both locations in the interests of improving their environment. For An Taisce organiser and Tralee native Rachel Boyle, it was an extremely heartening culmination to the agency's work over the year.

Twenty five people helped clear nearly 50 bags of rubbish from the Maharees over the weekend, including everything from what might be considered 'normal' litter to gas cylinders, garden chairs, lobster pots and fish boxes. All were rewarded with a mulled wine reception in Spillane's bar and restaurant in the Maharees afterwards.

Nearly 30 took part in the Banna clean-up on Sunday, collecting over 30 large bags of rubbish, as well as plastic drums, fish crates and lengths of marine rope, which also present a massive threat to wildlife. Members of the Tralee Tidy Towns, Kerry Islamic Outreach Society as well as locals and even visitors from Cork took part in the Banna clean-up.

"It never ceases to amaze me the amount of plastics that are washed up on our shores," Rachel said.

"It's easy to become despondent when you see so much litter constantly being washed up on the beaches around Kerry but you have to look at the positives. It's fantastic to see people coming together and give up some of their time to help clean up our beautiful coastline. It's amazing how much litter can be collected in such a short time when people work together," she added.

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