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New 'sweeper' boat to collect rubbish and plastic from the River Liffey four days a week

The Liffey Sweeper will remove litter from the upper part of the river.

CMC9710-61 The Liffey Sweeper Source: Conor McCabe Photography

A NEW BOAT which is specially designed to collect litter from the River Liffey has been launched in Dublin.

The Liffey Sweeper will remove plastic, cans and bottles from the upper part of the river and surrounding basins and shipping berths four days a week.

It was launched by the Irish Nautical Trust, a registered charity which aims to protect maritime heritage in and around the Dublin Port area.

The boat is fitted with a deep cage and will ‘sweep’ up litter from the water, including floating plastic and debris that float below the Liffey’s surface.

Once the litter is lifted from the water, it will be separated and sorted into recycling bins. Materials that cannot be recycled will then be removed by a licenced contractor, while any organic matter collected will be returned to the water.

The boat’s launch follows a grant of €180,000 from the Dublin Waste to Energy Community Gain Projects Grant Scheme, which enabled the Irish Nautical Trust to purchase the former environmental vessel from the UK.

LiffeySweep2 Some of the litter swept from the river Source: The Irish Nautical Trust

Irish Nautical Trust Director Jimmy Murray said the project had been designed over the past two years to help prevent rubbish getting into the sea and the Dublin Bay biosphere.

“We’ve noticed more disposable coffee cups, plastic bottles and food packaging appearing in the river during lockdown,” he said.

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“With bank holiday weekends and the summer months approaching, I would really encourage people to plan ahead and be prepared to bring your rubbish home. Everyone’s contribution adds up and can make a difference.”

Murray also said the project was “badly needed” because a lot of the city’s waste was ending up in the river.

“This project is a win for the environment, the beaches, the wildlife and the local communities, in terms of cleaning them up and hopefully creating employment with an expanded programme in the near future,” he added.

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