Clean Coasts received overwhelming support and commitment from Sligo volunteers and communities for the Big Beach Clean weekend took place between 16th and 18th September.
However, the clean up at Lissadell saw several bags containing camper van toilet waste.
The Big Beach Clean is an annual call to action that runs as part of the International Coastal Cleanup (ICC), operated internationally by Ocean Conservancy and invites communities and volunteers around the country to remove litter from around the Irish coast after the end of the bathing season.
This year, a record number of over 500 clean-ups were organised by volunteers who removed over 63 tonnes of litter nationwide.
In County Sligo, 13 groups carried out clean-up events removing an estimated 1.8 tonnes of litter over the weekend. Among these groups, were Lissadell Clean Coasts Group, Streedagh Conservation Group, Enniscrone Coast Care, LiveTiles Beachcombers, Spanish Armada Ireland and others. Groups tackled litter in several locations, including Lissadell Beach, Streedagh Strand, Enniscrone, Beach and Culleenamore Beach.
Streedagh Big Beach Clean event was organised as on Sunday 18th September as part of the schedule for the Armada weekend in Grange by members from the Streedagh Conservation Group. Clean Coasts Officer for Northwest Region, Olivia Jones, stated:“There was a great turnout with little litter on the beach which was encouraging to see.
“It was the third clean up on Streedagh that weekend. Common items found where fishing net pieces, rope and tissues.
“The group took around 18kg of litter off the beach.”
Lissadell Big beach Clean event also took place on Sunday and was organised by Lissadel Clean Coasts, which involved member of Carney Tidy Towns and others from the area.
The group collected around 15 bags in total, containing a mix of bottle cans and recreational related litter.
The groups also came across a lot of bags containing the contents of camper van toilets, which seems to be a growing issue in the area.
Each year, this initiative is also an opportunity for Big Beach Clean Sligo volunteers to get involved in a worldwide citizen science project, which entails collecting the amount and types of litter on Irish beaches and filling in Clean Coasts’ Marine Litter Data Cards to share with Ocean Conservancy, help heighten awareness about the issue of marine litter serving as an indicator of the magnitude of the problem and help shape future policies and campaigns.
So far, data collected from the International Coastal Cleanup have informed policy in a number of areas, leading to laws banning the use of plastic grocery bags; prohibiting smoking-related litter; encouraging the use of reusable bags; prohibiting mass balloon releases; and prohibiting foam food and beverage takeaway containers.