Three Cork-based volunteers and groups have won top prizes in An Taisce’s Clean Coasts Ocean Hero Awards.
Every year, the Ocean Hero Awards honour the contributions of Clean Coasts volunteers, groups and communities toward conserving the coastline.
This year’s Amazing Achievements Great and Small award, honouring the many ways people have supported Clean Coasts groups in their region, went to Caroline Davy from the Blackrock Clean Coasts group.
The Youth of the Year award went to St Colman’s Community College, Midleton, for their commitment to litter-picking and cleaning beaches over the past year.
The Enjoy and Protect award went to the paddleboarding and litter-picking leading group Subowti for their work in promoting summertime clean-ups.
David Ludgate of Subowti said his group was fighting back against the constant polluting of our waters with marine litter and microplastics.
“We promote our waterways and coast as the fantastic resources that they are, and we raise awareness of tackling the pollution issue head-on,” he said.
An Taisce’s Clean Coasts programme has more than 1,800 volunteer groups and in excess of 37,000 volunteers. The Clean Coasts Ocean Hero Awards awards, originally the ‘Clean Coasts Merit Awards’, have run since 2006.
Cork groups and individuals shortlisted for this year’s awards included Clean Coasts Ballynamona in the Group of the Year category, Sally O’Reilly (of Clean Coasts Ballynamona) in the Individual of the Year category, Mark McCarthy in the #2minutebeachclean Leader Award category, and Heron Help (Sam Fitzgibbon) in the Enjoy and Protect Award category.
Clean Coasts manager Sinead McCoy congratulated all of those who were shortlisted and who won prizes, and thanked them for their contribution to protecting Ireland’s coastal environment.
“Although 2021 has been challenging at times, it has been an incredible year for Clean Coasts, and our network has grown so much and shown an incredible amount of dedication and care for our beaches, coastline, marine life, and oceans,” she said.