Litter Grows on Irish Beaches

A new countrywide survey on Ireland's beaches and harbours has found disappointing results. 

The litter study by Irish Business Against Litter (IBAL) shows beaches which were clean during the last survey have deteriorated. Only eight of the 33 areas surveyed by IBAL were deemed clean.

Grand Canal Dock in Dublin and White Bay beach in Cork are among some of the worst littered harbours and beaches. Cork Harbour was also deemed to be heavily littered, although the efforts of community groups in Blackrock Castle were acknowledged.

An Taisce said evidence of land-based dumping and miscellaneous items including car tyres, construction signage, a rubber dinghy and a stroller contributed to the poor rating.

Annesley Bridge in Dublin was also found to be heavily littered — the survey showed "very high levels of casually discarded food and alcohol items" while the river bed harboured "long-lie items" such as shopping trolleys, scooters, clothing and traffic cones.

Many popular beaches slipped to moderately littered status including Lahinch, Brittas Bay, Curracloe, Portmarnock, Strandhill and Clogherhead. 

Coffee cups continue to be a significant litter item, present in half of the areas surveyed. The most common forms of litter found by assessors were cigarette butts, sweet wrappers and plastic bottles.

The business group warned that alongside its impact on tourism and recreation, coastal litter has grave implications for the future of the planet. IBAL highlighted that the simple individual act of discarding a coffee cup or cigarette butt has implications that are felt far beyond the local environment.