Each year millions of tonnes of marine litter enter our seas and oceans

This week, thirty-five Green-School Ambassadors from nine secondary schools attended a coastal clean-up at Shelly Banks beach organised by An Taisce’s Green-Schools team and sponsored by Irish Water. Fourteen bags of marine litter, weighing 119kg, were collected by the group which included nine teachers, staff from An Taisce’s Green-Schools team and Irish Water representatives.
 
Each year millions of tonnes of marine litter enter our seas and oceans, resulting in environmental, economic, health and aesthetic challenges. Today’s clean-up helped the Green-Schools Ambassadors realise the importance of removing marine litter from our beautiful coastline and in turn protect our coastal habitats and marine life.
 
Annabel FitzGerald, Irish Water said “We were delighted to take part in the clean-up at the Shelly Banks. This is a beautiful location and a wonderful amenity for locals and visitors alike, so it is vital that we all play our part in protecting it. Events like this help raise awareness of the impact of marine litter and the importance of doing all we can to tackle it so that amenities like Shelly Banks can continue to be enjoyed by all.”
 
Adding to this Cathy Baxter, Green-Schools Manager said “The Green-Schools water programme has an exciting academic year lined up with a series of Water Workshops, Walk for Water events, Water Ambassador Support Sessions, a poster competition and a prestigious awards ceremony which will announce the Water Schools of the Year. We are delighted to be partnering with Irish Water once again and we would like to thank all of our Water Ambassadors for taking the lead in educating the wider community about the importance of water conservation.”

Irish Water is also working in partnership with An Taisce’s Clean Coasts programme on the Think Before You Flush campaign which is a public awareness campaign about the problems sanitary products and other items can cause in the plumbing in our homes, our wastewater network and our marine environment when they are flushed down the toilet.

The 3 Ps

When the 3 Ps (Pee, Poo, & Paper) are flushed down the toilet they travel along the sewer network to our wastewater treatment plants and treated effluent is returned safely to our rivers and seas. However, every day people flush thousands of sanitary items such as wet wipes and cotton bud sticks down the toilet instead of simply putting them in the bin. This causes blockages in our network, pumping stations and wastewater treatment plants. These items can also end up on our beaches and cause serious damage to wildlife and the marine environment. It can also lead to blockages in sewers and wastewater treatment plants.

Think Before You Flush

For more information please visit our Think Before You Flush page.
 
Today’s event was part of the Water Theme of the Green Schools programme, a free programme which has been in operation since 2015 and is tailored for secondary school students from schools who are working on, or have already completed, the Water Theme.  Students are asked to apply to become ambassadors and those that are successful attend one-day training events across the country as well as beach cleans and a support session.  Sixty-six secondary school students were selected as Green-Schools Water Ambassadors in 2018/19 and from these nine students were selected as Regional Water Ambassador winners.  Their continued work to educate and inspire their peers on water as a resource to conserve extends to the greater community.
 
During the academic year 2018-2019, 122 schools were awarded the water flag since the beginning of the Green-Schools programme and there are currently 514 schools, with every county represented, working on this important theme.

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