Nationwide clean-ups organised to mark 10th anniversary of clean coasts programme

Thursday 2nd May 2013 - Coca‑Cola Clean Coasts Week, running this year from the 10th May to the 17th of May, was launched today with a call for volunteers to take part in what organisers hope will be Ireland’s biggest ever Beach Clean. The week is a national initiative run by An Taisce with the support of Coca‑Cola which empowers communities to participate in protecting and celebrating their local coastal environment.

This year the week falls as An Taisce’s celebrates the 10th Anniversary of the Clean Coasts Programme. Over the past ten years 300 groups have joined the Clean Coasts programme and together they have removed over 1 million pieces of litter from the Irish coastline, hosted over 3,000 coastal clean ups and been supported by over 10,000 volunteers during the beach clean ups.

Coca‑Cola Clean Coasts Week, which encourages the public to care for and celebrate the Irish coastline, was today launched by Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan TD in Sandymount Strand in Dublin. Minister Hogan thanked the local community groups who have supported the programme. “I would like to recognise the hard work and dedication of the thousands of volunteers who have worked to protect our marine environment. It is particularly fitting in 2013, the year of the gathering, that we are celebrating our coastline and helping to make it the best it can be to attract visitors from both near and far.”

Over 80 clean ups are expected to take place along Ireland’s coastline with thousands of volunteers getting involved during the week. Pat Oliver, Director of An Taisce’s Environmental Education Unit, says the Clean Coasts programme has helped to keep Irish beaches beautiful, thanks to the great work of volunteers over the last decade. She is urging more volunteers to follow in their footsteps for the Big Beach Clean. “Over 1 million pieces of litter have been removed from our beaches thanks to the 300 Coastcare groups made up of 10,456 volunteers taking part in 3,165 clean ups in the last ten years. This year, to celebrate our tenth anniversary, we are hoping to stage Ireland’s biggest ever clean up by mobilising communities in every coastal region to take part in an event in their area. I’d encourage everyone to log onto our website and find a beach clean you can support as part of the week.”

Speaking about Coca‑Cola’s support of An Taisce’s Clean Coasts Programme, Erica Roseingrave, Coca‑Cola Hellenic Ireland said: “Coca‑Cola is committed to investing in the local environment, protecting the natural beauty of our beaches and encouraging community participation in preserving our landscape. The Coca Cola Clean Coasts Week programme emphasises the important role that we can all play, in conserving our marine environment. We are delighted to once again partner with An Taisce in support of this initiative, where all across the country, local communities will be coming together to celebrate the wonderful natural resource that is our extensive coastline.”

Clean ups are due to take place all over Ireland. In addition to the Big Beach Clean, a full schedule of FREE events will take place during Coca‑Cola Clean Coasts Week including the launch of the annual Clean Coasts Photography Competition, surf rescue demonstrations in conjunction with Irish Water safety, National Marram Grass Planting Day, and cultural events in partnership with the National Maritime Museum, the Commissioners of Irish Lights and the Shore Shots Film Festival.

While all events are free, some are ticketed; people are encouraged to check out the website for more details. Members of the public can find details of clean-ups in their community and register events online at www.cleancoastsweek.ie.

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For further information please contact:
Suzanne Sullivan, Q4PR, 01-4751444/086-3797291

Notes to Editors
Full details of beach cleans and other events taking place as part of Coca‑Cola Clean Coast Week 2013 can be found online at www.cleancoastsweek.ie.