Four Wexford locations were inspected as part of a new IBAL survey of coastal areas, which found that almost 40% of Ireland's coastal areas and rivers are littered.
The study of beaches, harbours, rivers and their immediate environs, carried out by An Taisce, showed that only four of 50 areas surveyed were deemed 'Clean to European Norms'. The Wexford locations that were surveyed were: the River Slaney in Wexford town which was deemed to be littered; Curracloe, Kilmore Quay and Rosslare Harbour, all of which were considered to be moderately littered.
In their report on the River Slaney, An Taisce said: 'The bridge and river walk along the quay were in good order and presented well. There was little litter in this area. There was a very definite litter presence in the water (mainly plastic bottles, cans and car tyres). The water in the harbour side of the river had accumulations near the bridge. Under the railway overpass was also heavily littered with lower levels in the area immediately surrounding the harbour and bridge.'
Curracloe was deemed to be moderately littered, most of which was food and beverage related, and which was located in the marram grass at the beach. They noted some minor marine related litter such as rope, which was discarded on the shore. They acknowledged that recycling facilities were available in the immediate vicinity.
An Taisce described Kilmore Quay as 'a nicely presented riverside environment with colourful planting and sculpture.' They felt the seating areas along the river bank were generally good in relation to litter, with the water appearing very clear. They said: 'Overall, there was minor litter observed throughout.'
The sand dunes in Rosslare Harbour were the most obvious location of litter with plastic bottles, paper items and sweet wrappers discarded there.
In their report, An Taisce said: 'Any water based litter was restricted to that visible along the strangline of the beach. The survey area also included some of the beach area to the east of the harbour, the seawall between the beach and car parks, picnic area, and the area of land between the terminal and the sea wall.'
Conor Horgan of IBAL pointed out that the latest findings jarred with the steady progress being made in towns across the country, which showed 75% of areas to be clean, compared to just 8% in this survey: 'Sadly, accumulations of litter in and around our waterways are a common sigh in Ireland and this is borne out by these disappointing results. If we can call our towns clean, we cannot say the same for the areas around our beaches and rivers.'
He added that it had taken almost ten years of naming and shaming for local authorities to get to grips with litter in towns and said IBAL had set about pushing for a similar turnabout in respect of coastal areas and waterways.
Mr Horgan said: 'The objective of this new campaign is to rid our coasts and waterways of litter, as they are central to the country's appeal to visitors and an integral part of the clean image we project. This litter isn't just unsightly, it is contributing to lasting, potentially irreparable damage to our planet.'