An initiative which encourages the public to pick up plastic on their trips to the coast is being launched at four West Cork beaches.
Crosshaven Tidy Towns member Audrey Buckley and local resident Jim Upton started the ‘3 for the Sea’ project after seeing it working well in Australia.
Audrey says plaques for the Crosshaven area, explaining the idea to the public, are currently being made by sculptor Mike Wilkins at his Kilnagleary Studios in Carrigaline.
‘As we live in a beautiful coastal town, between beach goers and the tide carrying in debris, we need to do a lot of beach clean-ups throughout the year,’ explained Audrey.
‘We involve local schools and the cub, scouts, guides and ladybirds, but it’s the small pieces of plastic that get into the rocks and crevices that can cause the most harm to our sealife.’
Audrey pointed out that Crosshaven boasts a vast amount of sealife, with otters and seals, amongst other wildlife, regularly spotted in the harbour.
‘We are fortunate enough to have a local contact in the area and we plan to work with Aoife Deane of the MaREI Centre at UCC on public engagement, or outreach, around the 3 for the Sea initiative, bringing it into local schools and community groups around the area. ‘The Council is 100% on board and has given permission to install the plaques on four beaches initially – Fountainstown, Myrtleville, Churchbay, and Graball.’
The Tidy Towns group has also enlisted the support of Colaiste Mhuire Crosshaven TY co-ordinator Kieran Enright, who will help spread the word to his students.
‘Kieran is going to choose TY ambassadors for the project and some of the students did really well in the Young Scientists with their project on the effects of plastic on local fish, so that will tie in nicely with this initiative,’ explained Audrey.
Fundraising will help cover the cost of the plaques and it is expected to launch the idea officially, in time for the summer season.
She added that there are no excuses for not picking up just three bits of plastic and popping them into your recycling bin when you get home.
‘I even have my kids cutting up the plastic rings on items we use every day, like milk bottles. It’s a start at least,’ she said.
Spanish Point beach in Co Clare also uses the ‘3 from the Sea’ plan and has erected plaques on the seafront to remind users to take three pieces of plastic away with them, every time they visit the area.