Donegal and Cavan students tackle beach clean with Green-Schools and Irish Water

16 February 2022

Green Schools Water Ambassadors from three Donegal and Cavan schools took part in a clean-up of Bundoran beach this week alongside staff from Irish Water and An Taisce’s Green-Schools team.

Close to 30 volunteers took part in the big beach clean, removing nine bags of rubbish from the popular beach.

Among the items removed from the beach were large volumes of plastic such as bottles and sweet wrappers, wet wipes and other sanitary items along with face masks. Many of these products end up on our beaches and shorelines because they are flushed down toilets rather than being binned at home. 

The students taking part in the beach clean first assessed and categorised the type of litter they collected, before safely disposing of it in bags for collection by Donegal County Council.

This is one of six beach or river clean-ups that are taking place nationwide throughout February as part of the Green Schools Water Ambassador Programme. Staff from Irish Water, which sponsors the Green-Schools Water Theme, are taking part alongside local students and volunteers in the clean up activities around the country.

Ruth Gaj-McKeever, Senior Coordinator with the Green-Schools Water Theme, said: “We were delighted to have so many enthusiastic volunteers at our beach clean-ups. Not only are they helping to improve our natural environment by removing unwanted litter, the clean-up events are also a great opportunity for the students to learn more about our water ecosystems and how we can all play our part in protecting these precious resources.

Irish Water’s Wastewater Lead for Donegal and Think Before You Flush Ambassador, Paul Kilcoyne added: “Safeguarding Ireland’s water and wastewater system is a top priority for Irish Water but it is not something we can do alone. Everyone can play their part in protecting our seas and inland waterways. Even a small change can make a big difference, like putting those wet wipes and cotton buds in the bin rather than flushing them down the toilet so that they don’t end up on our beaches and waterways. Congratulation to all the Green-Schools Ambassadors and volunteers for their outstanding work in helping clean up our beaches and raising awareness about the value of our water.

Irish Water’s sponsorship of the Green-Schools Water Theme is in its ninth year and in that time over 3,000 schools have completed the water theme.  As well as workshops for students and events such beach clean-ups, Green-Schools also runs an annual poster and video competition on a water theme. For more details see www.greenschoolsireland.org/water.