March 2019 Clean Up summaries

In March we held 3 large scale clean ups throughout Ards and North Down, working with more than 100 volunteers and with several great groups who helped organize and gather support for the clean ups. We managed to remove more than 60 bags of littler and several other large items, and once again it was so shocking to see the amount of waste and litter gathering on beaches and beautiful areas of the peninsulas coast line. As of this month we have managed to remove more than 750 bags filled with litter from Northern Ireland's Coastal and Forest Areas and we want to give a big thank you to everyone who took time out of their week to come down and help out either this month or any time in the past. You are all wonderful human beings and we are glad to have your support.

Ballyholme Beach

Bags removed - 12

Volunteers - 57

For our first clean up for this month we were joined by the 6th Bangor Beavers to tackle to problem of litter in their local area. We had been in contact with their leaders in the build up to the event and were really glad to help the kids get involved in environmentalism. Not only that but we had great support from lots of other young families and many of our usual volunteers who it is always a pleasure to get talking too.

We managed to fill 12 bags full of litter despite the lack of larger items. As always with Ballyholme it is the small stuff, micro plastics and lots of glass fragments that litter the beach, combined with a few wet wipes, cans and bottles.

It was a great morning and great to be able to walk back along the beach, take in the sunshine and know that we had left the beach spotless for a while.

Sea Park

Bags removed - 9

Volunteers - 22

Sea park is always an interesting place to hold a clean up. At first glance it looks clean, but as soon as you sift through the sand and sea weed the plastic starts to emerge, cotton buds, wet wipes, bottle caps and other litter, as well as sanitary pads, and other items less pleasant to discuss. Both of which have a clear source, the sewers, wet wipes, sanitary towels, condoms, earbud sticks all flushed down the toilet when they should be binned. If you head east along the beach you find more plastic items, as you head west the sanitary items multiply.

Due to unforeseen weather issues we split the clean up over the week with two separate attempts, the first called of early due to gale force winds and hailstones, the second finishing the job on Thursday night.

We managed to remove 9 bags filled with micro-plastics such as cotton bud sticks, and other small fragments and collected piles of wet wipes and sanitary products. But the main disturbing issue was when we removed 2 bin bags full of wet wipes from a patch of seaweed no larger than by 5 meters. Another big issue around Sea Park is the amount of cigarette butts littering the car park and paths around the kids park, with myself and another volunteer removing over 200 butts in the space of an hour.

For such a beautiful spot with the great kids park, grass banks and sights over Belfast and beyond it is a terrible shame to find this level of pollution and obvious sewer remnants.

Ballywalter Beach

Bags removed - 50

Volunteers - 37

First of I want to say a huge thank you to Ken and Sandra for organising this event and including us in their plans, and a big thanks also to the Ballywalter community action group for getting involved.

As it always is when he head down the peninsula, the level of plastic pollution is staggering. Rope, containers, tires, packaging, fishing nets, fisher mans gloves, bottles and the ever present micro plastics litter the coastlines around these towns. This was our 6th clean up in little over a year at Ballywalter and once again we removed piles of litter, filling 50 bags worth of litter including several large items. Including pulling more than 60 plastic bags from the river running along the beach(see image). This takes out tally of bags at Ballywalter alone to 191 bags. It's not the communities fault, although some blame can come down to them when you see the amount of packaging and takeaway litter that lines the coast, but many of the larger items wash in from the sea along with the micro plastics. This problem of fishing gear is a huge issue globally and at the beaches around Ballywalter it is clear to see.

You can read more on this issue HERE.

Thank you to everyone who came out to help with the events and if you want to get involved head over to our events page to see when and where our next big events are happening.

Also if you want to help support our clean up events head over to our Online Store. We have lots of minimal waste and vegan friendly items for sale and it helps keep Clear Ripple Projects running. Or you can make a donation to Clear Ripple Projects HERE

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