Operation Clean Strand

Image supplied by Sandymount Beach Cleanup.

Image supplied by Sandymount Beach Cleanup.

The waters off Sandymount Strand are a fond feature for daytime strollers, weather-watchers and passers-by, whether they make an appointment with themselves or not to walk that famous strait of beach once in a while.

For lovers of that stretch of sand however, when the tides are fast, there are times when it is less than lovely. In previous issues of NewsFour we have covered the efforts of the Sandymount and Poolbeg Peninsula CoastCare Group. Organised by Sandymount resident Catherine Devitt, the group is a volunteer-led effort to keep Sandymount Strand clean, inviting and litter-free. The irony of the effort is that the greatest litterer of the Strand can be the sea itself.

We spoke with Catherine about the group and their work.
“The clean-up in early January was well attended – about 10 people,” she explained. “I think we broadcast it better in December than at other times.” The meetings take place on the first Saturday of every month and volunteers are kitted out to suit the job. “Basically, just check the weather and dress warmly. We’re fully insured, we have litter pickers, gloves, refuse bags – people just need to turn up.”

Catherine got the ball rolling on the SPPCCG after the storms and gales of January and February 2014: “The strand after those storms was covered in all sorts of rubbish. Bottles, Styrofoam packaging, syringes, all litter that was washed in on the high tides. Plastic pollution in particular is a problem. It breaks down into these tiny pieces if you don’t get to it quickly. And we have such a large area to cover on the pick-ups.”

The clean-up covers the Strand, Shelly Banks beach and the area near the pier, so the more the merrier. “The next big thing is just more people, maybe some local schools could get involved, if any teachers or headmasters are reading your paper,” she said, only half-joking.

Anyone interested in taking part can find Sandymount and Poolbeg Peninsula CoastCare Group on Facebook or email sandymountbeachcleanup@gmail.com

By Rúairí Conneely