Think before flushing, keep beaches clean

ORGANISERS of a beach clean-up at the Sandy Bay have urged people to bin material they might be considering flushing down the toilet.

Volunteers descended on the Larne beauty spot to collect litter and survey what they found for the Marine Conservation Society (MCS).

Despite what event organiser Amanda Wilson described as “a disappointing turnout”, the team removed 409 items of litter from the short stretch of beach, including plastic bags, cloth pieces and drinks cans. The most unusual find was half of a plastic musical recorder.

But by far the worst offender was wet wipes, with volunteers collecting a startling 169 of them.

Amanda said: “Wet wipes make their way on to beaches through the sewage system, so please be considerate of our environment. Bag it, bin it, don’t flush it.”

Larne Lough Councillor Mark McKinty, who took part in the clean-up, praised the work of the team of volunteers.

He added: “Amanda organises a great number of beach cleans along the East Antrim coastline, and all the volunteers do a great job in tidying up our coast for the public and for wildlife.

“Following a number of complaints by concerned Larne residents, I worked with Amanda to organise the clean up of Sandy Bay, where I was shocked to find so much rubbish. I would encourage everyone to be vigilant with the disposal of their rubbish, and I look forward to attending more beach cleans in the borough in the future.”

Cosmetic manufacturer Lush recently launched a ‘Don’t feed the birds’ campaign, which aims to reduce the amount of plastic consumed by sea birds.

Scientific research has proven that on average, seabirds consume 12 items of plastic in their life time, causing digestive problems and delivering toxins, carried on the plastic, to the birds.

Lush believes plastic bottle tops are an easy to recycle item that has disastrous effects on the environment, and is urging people to save up the tops and bring them to their closest Lush store.

The MCS volunteers found 11 plastic bottle tops at Sandy Bay. These will be donated to Lush Belfast later in the summer, along with tops from their other summer beach cleans.

To get involved in future clean-ups, contact Amanda on manda_wilson@hotmail.co.uk