Ventry meitheal takes one small step for mankind

West Kerry

Declan Malone & Joan Maguire

Over 30 bags of litter was picked up off Ventry strand on Saturday by a 'meitheal' of locals and visitors who share the view that every little effort helps in keeping our seas and coastline cleaner and healthier.

The clean-up was organised by Orna Dunlevy who lives within sight of Ventry strand felt that if people were encouraged "to clean up our own little patch" on a regular basis it would be one small step on the long journey towards turning back the tide of pollution engulfing the world's oceans.

Dún Chaoin-based Susan Vickers, who works as An Taisce's Clean Coasts Officer for Kerry, Cork and Limerick, was happy to support the effort, providing refuse sacks, gloves, litter pickers and arranging for the rubbish to be collected by Kerry County Council.

The litter found on the beach included countless strands of nylon rope enmeshed in seaweed. The rope is commonly used by fishermen who are probably not aware of the pollution that results when a fathom of discarded rope becomes frayed and separates into thousands of separate strands of plastic. Dog dung bags were another common feature of the haul of litter from Ventry, but there's no excuse for those who left them behind - and we're not talking about the dogs here.

"I thought everybody is really worried about how the sea is getting more and more polluted… and it seemed to me that if our community cleaned our beach it would help the situation some little bit," said Orna.

The plan is to continue the Ventry beach clean on the first Saturday of every month from 2 - 3.30pm. The ad hoc group goes under the title of Meitheal Trá Fionn Trá, which now a member of Clean Coasts and everybody is very welcome to join the effort. There's a social side to the work as well, which makes the post clean-up coffee in Quinn's an important part of the operation, and Orna hopes Ventry's efforts will encourage other coastal communities to follow their lead.