Saturday 21 July 2018

'I'm angry and annoyed' – Woman whose daughter stood on hidden disposable barbecue left on Wicklow beach

One group of people simply walked away and left everything - two used barbecues, uncooked meat, cans and packaging - behind on Laytown beach last weekend. Photo: Lisa McCabe
One group of people simply walked away and left everything - two used barbecues, uncooked meat, cans and packaging - behind on Laytown beach last weekend. Photo: Lisa McCabe
Geraldine Gittens

Geraldine Gittens

Some 130 beaches around Ireland now have signs encouraging beach goers to carry out a simple two-minute beach clean when they’re leaving the beach.

Beach cleaners are encouraged to post a photo on social media of the rubbish they’ve collected, and to use #twominutebeachclean in their post.

Sinead McCoy, Clean Coast manager, who works to promote and protect our Irish coastline, says the aim is to get people connected to the marine environment.

“We love the fact that the beaches are used in this great weather, but it’s just to get more of a connection for people with the coast line.”

“The most concerning [littering] is the amount of glass bottles and disposable barbecues, they’re dangerous to people playing on the beaches, and they’re buried and hidden from view.”

“Generally we will find broken glass and barbecues, and they can be left in the dunes so they’re hidden.”

“I generally think people are not looking to hurt anyone, they’re just not conscious of the impact that their actions will have.”

“It’s just to take a little bit more responsibility and be a little bit more conscious of, ‘whatever we bring to the beach we take away’.”

Triona Reid Driscoll was at Brittas Bay in Wicklow with her family at the weekend when her daughter unwittingly stood on a broken, used disposable barbecue.

“When it happened I was really angry it was there. Someone had got one of those disposal barbecues where the tide comes in, to put it out, and it was hidden and it was broken so there were metal bits sticking up.”

 “She stood on it. She’s fine. But I was annoyed by it. I brought it up to the beach and got a bag to put it into it and I cut myself.”

Ms Reid Driscoll encourages her children to pick up at least three pieces of rubbish when they’re leaving the beach.

“It’s something I’d be conscious of. Plastic is very topical now and there are local beach cleans with #2minutebeachclean and I’ve tried to encourage our kids especially when it comes to plastic to clean up. When we go to the beach we try and pick up three pieces of rubbish that we take with us.”

“It’s really simple, easy, doable idea,” Ms McCoy added.

“The vast majority of people are very conscious, it’s just when a few groups of people leave their cans or bottles or barbecues behind, it has a huge impact on that beach.”

“There’s a simple action of picking that up and either taking it home or putting in the bin. When the tide comes in, it’s not getting washed away and impacting the marine environment.”

Last year, around 500-750 tons of marine litter were collected by Clean Coasts groups. There are 600 In 2017 approximately 500-750 tons of marine litter was collected by Clean Coasts groups around Ireland.

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