Coastal body seeks help to minimise littering and habitat damage during summer months

Coastal body seeks help to minimise littering and habitat damage during summer months

Proinsias Ó Tuama and Michael Anthony of Clean Coasts Ballynamona, cleaning up after wild campers on Ardnahinch Beach, which is in the Ballycotton Bay Special Protection Area. Photo: Cathal Noonan

A NUMBER of demands have been put to Cork County Council and other local authorities ahead of the staycation season.

An organisation called Coastal Communities, spearheaded by Proinsias Ó Tuama of Clean Coasts Ballynamona in East Cork, is looking for a number of initiatives to minimise the disruption to coastal areas as much as possible during the sunny summer months.

The organisation said that while the large crowds will no doubt bring long-awaited joy to local businesses who have struggled during Covid-19 lockdowns, there are negative repercussions if visitors are not managed sensibly.

“The flip side of all of this vibrant life and activity can also have an impact long after the summer.

“Some of these issues include: enormous amounts of litter; damage to important habitats such as dune systems (which are our communities’ only coastal defences); inadequate facilities leading to poor sanitation, blocked roads impacting on emergency vehicle access; dog fouling and antisocial behaviour.

“These issues affect residents and visitors alike, but if we work together it is also avoidable.”

The organisation said there were, of course, benefits to living along the coast, but there were also a number of concerns in the summer time that needed to be addressed.

“Living on Ireland’s picturesque coastline has been a blessing to many.

“It is something we’re all looking forward to sharing with our visitors this summer, but many coastal communities share deep concerns on the impending impact of Summer 2021 staycation crowds.”

The Coastal Communities group, which covers areas from Cork to Donegal to Dublin, is asking for improved toilet facilities, temporary car parks, SAC/SPA signage, dune system management and better enforcement of beach bye-laws.

There are a number of actions that can also be taken by visitors to ensure the preservation of the natural environment such as obey signage, be aware of beach bye-laws, keep dogs on a lead and bring a bin bag.

“Hopefully we can all enjoy the summer of 2021 while our beaches and dunes remain the important wildlife habitats that are so vital for our future, so we can continue to appreciate and enjoy our wonderful coast.”

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