This was our 17th clean up in Northern Ireland and one of our biggest hauls of litter from a coastal area for a long time. We met in the fog and drizzle on Sunday morning, got quickly prepped and started to spread out over the beach and rocks. The tide was coming on but we knew we had about 2 hours to work before the beach disappeared, having chosen to meet at this time before the weather took a turn for the worse in the afternoon.
It quickly became apparent that we were both undermanned, and lacking in time to completely clean this beach, within 5 minutes we had hauled a desolated lobster cage, some carpet and a pile of fishing nets from the rocks and other volunteers had already started to fill their bags with smaller items. And it just kept piling up from there, with more and more bags, nets and rope being discovered either half buried in the sand or left abandoned at the side of the road that runs along the rocky edge of the beach. With the help of our incredible volunteers we manage to drag the bags laden with rubble and trash along the several hundred meters of beach to reach the slope where we could get it up and away from the oncoming tide. Whilst we worked to remove the larger items other volunteers clambered over the rocks and searched through the seaweed to remove as much smaller pieces of rubbish and plastic from the beach as they could.
In the end with the help of our amazing 14 volunteers we managed to fill 13 bags with smaller items of rubbish, and remove a huge pile of fishing gear, carpet scraps and discarded building supplies from the beach. We must have covered less than 500 meters of coastline in the 2 hours and will definitely be returning again soon to continue to help keep this, the most easterly point of Ireland's coastline, looking as beautiful and clean as we left it.
A big thank you also to Ards and North Down Borough Council for helping us remove the rubbish we gathered on the beach, we could not have done this without their support.
If you want to get active and help out in your local area keep your eyes on our events page to see where and when our next clean ups are taking place, or you can check the facebook page by clicking HERE, to stay up to date with all events and info about our future projects.
Some of our Volunteers hard at work
More Volunteers starting their clean up
Within 5 minutes we had dragged all of this from the beach
Fishing nets and cages were once again a big presence along the peninsula
A large patch of carpet found right down by the waters edge
McDonalds lids and lots of plastic cups and bottles were a common sight
Some of the items we pulled from between the boulders that form the sea wall along the beaches edge. Goggles, fishermans gloves, shopping bags, rope, packets and cans.
One of our volunteers dragging a bag he dug from the sand back to the pick up site, whilst many more are combing the beach for more litter.
We found 2 huge bags filed with trash and rubble, clearly fly tipped from the road onto the edge of the beach, it took 30 minutes to drag them back along the beach to the pick up site.