Borough wide effort for the Big Beach Clean 2018

Tuesday 18 September 2018

Mid and East Antrim Borough Council has supported the Big Northern Irish Beach Clean weekend, a Marine Conservation Society and Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful initiative.

Volunteers carried out big beach cleans at Carnfunnock Bay, Brown’s Bay and Carrickfergus Castle.

Over 80 volunteers gathered over 55 bags of rubbish, including plastic bottles, household waste and fishing gear. Some of the more unusual items found were a spool from a videotape, a roof rack and pieces of clothing.

Marine litter, from string to oil to plastics, is a huge threat to our seas, killing at least a million birds and hundreds of thousands of marine mammals and turtles every year. Much marine litter is not biodegradable and will last for centuries, so every local beach clean helps save wildlife for years to come.

The Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Cllr Lindsay Millar, said: “Litter is a major problem in our oceans and is washing up on our beaches. Plastic litter especially has increased significantly in recent years and is a real problem for our local marine birds and animals as they can become entangled or accidentally ingest it, with sometimes fatal consequences. Litter is also unsightly, a public health hazard and it costs millions each year to clean up.”

“Our beaches and coastline are an important tourist attraction for Mid and East Antrim and it is important to improve the experience for visitors and local residents. I’d like to thank all the volunteers for all the hard work. Thanks also to our Parks and Open Spaces and Waste Services teams who provided support to the volunteers, equipment, and removed the rubbish for proper disposal.”

Elena Aceves-Cully a local volunteer, said: “For the last 12 years, I have co-ordinated the Big Beach Clean Weekend at Brown’s Bay with the support of Islandmagee Primary School, the Marine Conservation Society and Mid and East Antrim Borough Council. This community effort includes a survey where every piece of litter is recorded. This enables us to see what the most commonly found type of litter is. This year, we found a lot of small pieces of glass and glass bottles. A huge part of the rubbish is also plastic, especially small plastic pieces.

“Beach cleans are a great opportunity for families and communities to come together and for children to learn about the effects of plastic litter in the marine environment. I would like to express my thanks to council for their continued support, and encourage others to think about carrying out their own beach cleans throughout the year.”

Rosemary Johnston, from Carrick Model Primary School said: “The children really enjoyed participating in the local beach clean. They were amazed to learn about all the different types of rubbish found on the beach and how this can impact on marine life and the environment. This will help encourage them to continue their involvement in activities which will improve our local environment.”