Rivers and coast to be assessed by IBAL
Some of Wicklow's coast and rivers are to be assessed as IBAL extends the scope of its litter survey.
In recognition of the increased awareness of marine litter, business group Irish Business Against Litter (IBAL) will this year extend its annual Anti-Litter League to include beaches, ports and rivers.
Over 60 sites in Ireland, covering coasts and inland waterways, will be monitored independently by An Taisce and ranked in a litter league table to be published in late summer.
In Co Wicklow, Brittas Bay, the Dargle river at Bray, the Vartry in Wicklow and the Avoca in Arklow will all be assessed as part of the survey.
Established in 1996, Irish Business Against Litter (IBAL) is an alliance of companies sharing a belief that continued economic prosperity, in the areas of tourism, food and direct foreign investment, is contingent on a clean, litter-free environment.
'Our coastal areas and waterways are of course a vital part of our tourism product,' said Conor Horgan of IBAL, 'and for this reason alone warrant inclusion in our survey. But by allowing us to draw attention to the broader critical issue of marine litter, their significance is much greater.
'Litter is transitioning from a primarily visual concern to a health and environmental one, with marine litter seen as signalling the inevitable death of our seas unless a rapid change can be effected. A stark illustration of this threat is the plastic "garbage patch" three times the size of France floating in the Pacific Ocean.'
It is estimated that by 2050 there will be more plastic in our oceans than fish.
The extension of the IBAL programme is supported by the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government.