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Keep up to date with Future Focus 21c

  • Writer's pictureColin Keogh

Was This Your First Beach Clean?

Updated: Jul 20, 2018

We asked two of our Transition Year students about what they thought of our day at Lohar Beach.

We can all make a difference

CoDesRes: Was this your first beach clean?

GL: Yes, this was the first beach I have cleaned.

DO’S: Yes this was my first beach clean.

CoDesRes: What can you tell us about it?

GL: It was a great experience, honestly. I learned a lot from going there and doing it. To see how much plastic the ocean drops, is unbelievable. I felt really guilty about it, since then I have changed the way I do things like recycling and not dropping random stuff.

DO’S: There was a medium-sized group of us with around 8 in total. We gathered at the top of the beach at around 10:00am and set to work. The cleanup lasted roughly three hours. I felt good during the clean up as it made me feel like I was doing my bit to combat pollution and fix the environment.

CoDesRes: What sort of rubbish do you remember picking up most from the beach?

GL: A lot of fishing nets, bottles; mostly fishing things.

DO’S: During the cleanup, I encountered a huge variety and amount of waste. They were all exclusively made of one material; plastic. The plastic materials I encountered most often were shotgun shells, plastic bottles, and sweet packets. I also encountered things such as tags from Canadian lobster pot vessels, lobster pots, toothbrushes, American plastic bottles and sweet wrappers, silage wrap, a half full 25 gallon drum of agricultural diesel, but to name a few.

4. Did anything surprise you about the day / beach clean?

GL: The amount of stuff we gathered in a short time.

DO’S: I suppose not much surprised me about the day if I'm honest. I knew that there was a huge problem with plastic pollution in our oceans, but it was kind of a different experience seeing it first-hand and I have to admit that towards the end of the day when we went to Finian's Bay, I got pretty upset seeing all the microplastics wash up on the beach. Especially because it was breathtaking standing there staring out at the Skelligs as the sun set, only to look down and see bits of micro plastic destroying the natural environment.

CoDesRes: What was the most interesting thing for you about the day?

GL: Karma, because people don’t think what they do while throwing away litter. While I picked up the litter I thought “how many things have I thrown out that are now in the ocean?”. Guilty.

DO’S: Seeing where all this waste is coming from and learning how we can solve the problem of plastic pollution in our oceans was the most interesting part of the day for me.

CoDesRes: Were you able to tell how far something had travelled or where it might have come from?

GL: Some things are labelled, you can track from where they came. Of course not all of them are labelled.

DO’S: Yes, I was able to tell how far and where things had come from relatively easily.

CoDesRes: Do you think this is something that could be useful for discussion to explore for

learning other things e.g. geography, marine ecology, sustainability?

GL: Yes, because we do learn about fishing, waters and plastic, but we never actually go and see the consequences ourselves.

DO’S: Yes I do

CoDesRes: If you could give our readers one take-home message what would it be?

GL: Please, don’t throw it away on the grass or anywhere. Just your bin, the recycling bin.

DO’S: Please recycle all the plastic you use and don’t litter. I know in the moment when you litter you are probably thinking "Ah sure it’s grand, one little piece of litter isn't going to make a difference" however think about it this way; if everybody in the world said that and littered just once a day that would be 7.6 billion pieces of litter polluting the world in a single day. So just do the right thing; use the bins and recycle your waste.

CoDesRes: Finally on the Sustainable Development Goals –

  • Had you heard about them before the week you spent with CoDesRes?

GL: No, never had I heard of them.

DO’S: No I had never heard of them before the week I spent with CoDesRes.

  • What do you think about them?

GL: Useful, and should be known everywhere.

DO’S: I think they are good. For things to be achieved, goals have to be set to guide people and keep them on the right track. These goals that have been set need to be achieved because as it stands, the world is in deep trouble and things need to happen or we will face extinction.

  • Do you think people are aware of them?

GL: Not really, I don’t think schools really know about them.

DO’S: No, I don’t think many people are aware of them

  • Do you think a beach clean would be a good practical way to make people aware of them; in particular 14 – Life Below Water and 15- Life On Land?

GL: Yes, very much, plus it’s great for the planet if we go picking up plastic.

DO’S: Yes I think a beach clean would be a good way to make people aware of them. The best way to inform them I feel would be talking to them before the beach cleanup begins; about why we are doing it and how it ties into the sustainable development goals.

CoDesRes: Thank You!

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