Cork group issues plea for support after disappointing litter survey results

Cork group issues plea for support after disappointing litter survey results

The latest survey by business group Irish Business Against Litter (IBAL) found Cork Harbour at Blackrock Castle and Ballincurra were ‘littered’ and ‘heavily littered’ respectively. Picture: Tom Coakley Photography

A GROUP dedicated to improving and protecting the waters of Cork Harbour have called on the public to help their cause, following the news that a recent survey found no Cork coastal area deemed ‘clean’.

The latest survey by business group Irish Business Against Litter (IBAL) found Cork Harbour at Blackrock Castle and Ballincurra were ‘littered’ and ‘heavily littered’ respectively. Elsewhere in Cork Ballycotton, Bantry, Crosshaven, Kinsale, the Blackwater at Youghal and Long Strand were all ‘moderately littered’.

The comments in the survey were sharply critical of parts of Cork Harbour.

Speaking about the Ballincurra, Midleton section of Cork Harbour, the Environmental Education Unit of An Taisce said: “Despite a slight improvement since the 2018 survey, this area wasn’t so much littered as subject to dumping.

“There were heavy levels of a wide variety of land based food related items. The real dumping problems lay in the water — large numbers of traffic cones and household appliances had been discarded.”

The comments relating to the Blackrock Castle area were only marginally more positive.

“The opposite side of the castle from the carpark was where the water based litter was heaviest. Items included heavy levels of plastic bottles, plastic bags, cans, food/ sweet wrappers and large pieces of plastic. A broken green wheelie bin was submerged and full of seaweed. Several plastic bags of rubbish and other miscellaneous items were dumped in the greenery and there was also a burnt-out inflatable dinghy.”

Cleanup

The Cork Harbour Waterkeeper (CHWK) group have organised a beach cleanup every month since they started in 2018 and are asking more people to get involved.

“CHWK are continuing their efforts to make a difference in Cork Harbour and ask for people to follow us on social media and come out and take part because it’s our harbour and our waterways and our responsibility,” Waterkeeper Noel Sheehan said. “There is a great awakening from the people of Cork who are really stepping up and making a difference.”

CHWK also run a pollution hot line and ask their followers on Facebook to send in pictures and videos of any pollution they see in the which the group then follow up with Cork County Council, the EPA and Irish Water.

The group also run school education programmes and patrol and sample the water in the harbour in their dedicated vessel. They share their results on a free swim guide app.

The IBAL survey was more positive about other areas in Cork, particularly Long Strand and Kinsale Harbour.

“There was a virtual absence of land-based litter at Long Strand,” the report said. “It would appears that the site is being cleaned regularly and effectively. It was the water based marine litter which brought down the litter grade - a wide variety of marine items were present e.g. buoys, old fishing rope, pieces of plastic and other debris.”

Of Kinsale Harbour, the report said: “This lovely area was generally well maintained and just missed getting the top litter grade. Small scatterings of a wide variety of mostly food related litter in parts of the site but also areas that were virtually litter free. Cigarette butts were quite pronounced and there was dog fouling. For a harbour environment it was striking that marine based litter wasn’t a feature at Kinsale Harbour.”

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