Cork harbour area and beach deemed litter black spots in new survey

Kinsale officially deemed as ‘littered’
Cork harbour area and beach deemed litter black spots in new survey

Pictured during a cleanup around Blackrock Castle, Cork City, organized by Clean Coasts Ballynamona with 120 Transition year students from St. Colmans Community College Secondary School, Midleton, and Christ King Girls' Secondary School, Turner's Cross, Cork City earlier this year.

A NATIONWIDE survey by Irish Business Against Litter (IBAL) of beaches and harbours shows an increase in litter black spots in Cork.

Cork Harbour at Blackrock Castle and White Bay beach were again found to be ‘heavily littered’ at the foot of the rankings of 33 areas surveyed, while Kinsale had fallen to ‘littered’ alongside Bantry and Ballinacurra, with Castletownbere ‘moderately littered’.

Overall in Cork, litter levels are on the rise, with only eight areas receiving the ‘clean’ designation.

Fine Gael councillor Sineád Sheppard said that it goes without saying that the areas of concern listed in the IBAL survey “would have a lot of tourists visiting”.

“Especially the likes of White Bay. I grew up going down to that beach. It was such a treat to go to White Bay or Inch, that area. So, it’s disappointing to see it being listed as a black spot and the only way that can be fixed is by us, the people.

“It’s just terrible that society thinks that you can just leave litter behind you. Especially on a beach. The only thing you should leave behind on a beach when leaving is your footprints.” 

She said that the people of Cork are “beyond blessed” to have such amenities on their doorstep and that people should be “really looking after them”.

The Cobh councillor stressed to visitors to beauty spots to leave them “as beautiful as you find them” and encouraged people to clean up after themselves.

“I’m sure people around the White Bay beach area come out early in the morning to clean up a mess that other people have left behind them so we just need to be more mindful and more respectful of everybody.” 

Green Party councillor Alan O’Connor said that he believes Cork County Council “do a good job with their litter awareness campaigns” and that awareness of the issue, reminders, and appeals are necessary.

Volunteers from Clean Coasts Ballynamona during a beach clean at White Bay beach in East Cork.
Volunteers from Clean Coasts Ballynamona during a beach clean at White Bay beach in East Cork.

Despite this, he said that there “probably isn't a road in the country which doesn't have a bottle or a crisp bag or more”.

“There seems to be a segment of the population who will persist in the habit and a very few on a large scale.

“Catching and fining can be difficult at the best of times, and cleaning up would take the whole Council budget and more.” 

Bandon-Kinsale councillor Kevin Murphy said that people “have to get a handle on littering” and encouraged people to get involved in Tidy Towns.

The Fine Gael councillor said he is “disappointed” that Kinsale had fallen to ‘littered’ in the survey carried out.

“Covid had a major impact on all this when the hospitality sector closed and it opened to food trucks and we ended up having litter discarded in all different directions.

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“I think the fast food sector has a major role to play here as well." Independent councillor Kieran McCarthy believed IBAL’s assessment of Blackrock Castle to be “unfair”.

“There is a Blackrock coastal cleanup group who work very hard to make sure the area is spotless and council workers come in there a few times a week to clean up too.

“It’s one of the most heavily used amenities in the south side of the city so I know during Covid it helped a lot of people get through the lockdowns so in the last two years there has been an enormous focus put on Blackrock and the various walkways.

“There is a large community spirit down there and a massive sense of pride down by the castle as well, it always looks immaculate inside and outside.” 

He suggested that IBAL should put some focus on engaging with the community to get involved in more clean-ups and provide more education on the issue.

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