23 January 2019 Go back to News
Protecting coastal habitats and marine life
Coastal clean-up at Shellybanks
Yesterday, 23 Green-School Ambassadors from four secondary schools in Co. Dublin attended a coastal clean-up at Shellybanks organised by An Taisce’s Green-Schools team and sponsored by Irish Water. The participating schools were Loreto College, St Stephen's Green; Presentation Community College, Terenure; Riversdale Community College and Ardgillan College. A dozen bags of marine litter were collected by the group which included six teachers, staff from An Taisce’s Green-Schools team and Irish Water staff.
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.
Speaking at the event Jenny Lawlor, Irish Water, said “We were delighted to take part in the clean-up at Shellybanks today. 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 Shellybanks can continue to be enjoyed by all.”
Cathy Baxter, Green-Schools Manager, added “The Green-Schools water programme has an exciting academic year lined up with a series of Water Forums, 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.”
Think Before You Flush
We are 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 to the plumbing in our homes, our wastewater network and our marine environment when they are flushed down the toilet.
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.
For more information visit our Think Before You Flush page.
Green Schools and the Water Theme
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. Fifty-seven students were named Green-Schools Water Ambassadors along with four Regional Ambassadors in 2017/18. Their continued work to educate and inspire their peers on water as a resource to conserve extends to the greater community.
To date over 2,300 schools have been awarded the water flag since the beginning of the Green-Schools programme and there are currently 575 schools, with every county represented, working on this important theme.