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We keep our beautiful beaches clean -- it's a bit of an addiction

Emily Diebold was spurred to action after piles of stinking rubbish were left on her local beach in Skerries on a beautiful summer day.

"We had four days of really hot sun and the council were late picking up the bins," she said. "The beach looked absolutely disgusting. That gave me the impetus to do something -- I knew that other people would be angry."


Emily has now set up a simple system called Adopt-A-Beach Coastcare Group' where the 6km stretch of beach has been divided into 35 plots.

Each 'beach guardian' is responsible for their own stretch of sand.

"I put out the call looking for volunteers," Emily said. "We thought we might have 15 people, but 35 families turned up."

Now there is a network of volunteer beachcombers and through this community beach plot allocation, Skerries Beach is continuously cleaned and maintained, supported by Fingal County Council.

"You can get a bit addicted to it," Emily said. "I do my bit of the beach and then I just keep walking until my bag is full.

"The reason it works so well is that there are no rules or regulations," she added.

"We're just saying to people that you're responsible for this beach.

"People are proud of their bit of beach."

Emily's family-run Skerries Newspaper has been an effective medium in providing local publicity to the initiative, and in recruiting members to be allocated to plots.

The mum-of-four said that it had renewed community spirit in the area and Skerries Tidy Towns committee was considering expanding the 'adopt a street' idea across the area.

"The scheme lasts for one year," Emily explained.

"What was really great was when we put out the call, all of the people stayed on with their guardianship -- and we have new people who signed up too."

The Ireland Involved Awards, sponsored by Panadol, take place in the Mansion House, Dublin on November 10