This site uses cookies to improve your experience and to provide services and advertising. By continuing to browse, you agree to the use of cookies described in our Cookies Policy. You may change your settings at any time but this may impact on the functionality of the site. To learn more see our Cookies Policy.
OK
Dublin: 9 °C Wednesday 19 February, 2020
Advertisement

Survey finds majority of Irish beaches and rivers are polluted: these are the biggest blackspots

The most common forms of litter found by the assessors were food wrappers, plastic bottles, cans and cigarette butts.

Image: Shutterstock.com

FIVE IN SIX beaches and waterways inspected as part of a nationwide litter survey are not considered clean enough to meet European standards.

A study of 42 areas across the country by business group Irish Business Against Litter (IBAL) has found that only 1 in 6 were deemed “clean to European norms”

A further 14% were classified as ‘littered’ or ‘heavily littered’, when beaches, harbours, rivers and their immediate environs were monitored by the Environmental Education Unit of An Taisce this summer.

The most common forms of litter found by the assessors were food wrappers, plastic bottles, cans and cigarette butts.

Fishing industry-related litter, such as nets, ropes, strapping bands, and floats, were also found throughout almost all marine sites.

Salthill was found to be one of the cleanest beaches in the country, with the report praising the strand as a “well used and cared for environment” where a previous issue around dog fouling has been successfully tackled.

Curracloe beach in Wexford also made the ‘clean’ list for having “a virtual absence of litter”, while Seapoint in Dublin was the only other beach considered clean by inspectors.

Lough Rea, the River Shannon at Carrick-on-Shannon, the Nore in Kilkenny were also clean, as well as KiImore Quay harbour in Wexford.

However, the Barrow in Carlow town and the Tolka in Dublin were both heavily littered, along with Cork Harbour near Midleton.

The harbour, one of the the worst areas surveyed by the group, was “subject to dumping, with heavy levels of land-based food related items and large numbers of traffic cones and household appliances discarded in the water”.

There were over a dozen tyres dumped at Tolka River at Annesley Bridge in Fairview in Dublin, as well as bicycles, a shopping trolley and child’s tricycle.

The River Barrow at Carlow had “a very definite heavy litter presence … with a wide variety of regular litter, both land- and water-based”, inspectors said.

Blackrock Castle also had “heavy levels of plastic bottles, plastic bags, cans, food / sweet wrappers and large pieces of plastic … several plastic bags of rubbish and other miscellaneous items were dumped adjacent to the coast.”

Popular tourist destinations of Bundoran, Dingle, Kinsale and Lahinch were among those considered “moderately littered”, as were Brittas Bay beach in Co Wicklow, Dun Laoghaire harbour and Portmarnock beach in Dublin, and Tramore beach in Waterford.

Conor Horgan of IBAL said the group sought to protect tourism and recreational assets, and said the need for action on plastic pollution in aquatic environments was pressing.

“Our regular surveys consistently show 80% of our towns to be clean; we cannot say the same for our beaches and waterways,” he said.

“Litter as we know it has acquired a wholly new importance for society. This is especially true for an island like Ireland, where litter can readily wind its way to the sea irrespective of where it is dropped.

“When it comes to marine litter the sea starts at every household, street, green space and workplace.”

  • Share on Facebook
  • Email this article
  •  

Read next:

COMMENTS (37)

This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
write a comment

    Leave a commentcancel