Cookie Policy

We use cookies to make our website effective and useful for you. To continue, please accept the use of cookies.

I accept

How we use cookies

Northern Ireland Environment Link Logo
 

News

 

Events

 

Apr 2018 right left

      
01
02
03
04
05
06
07

Coppicing Small Trees

Sunday 8th April
Knockbracken Allotments, South Belfast
Free

09
10

Integrated Water Management and Sustainable Drainage

Wednesday 11th April
QUB, Medical Biology Centre, Lecture Room 2, Ground Floor, Lisburn Road, Belfast
Free

12
13

Our Earth, Our Future: to mine or to mind?

Saturday 14th April
Greenvale Hotel & Restaurant, 57 Drum Road, Cookstown, Co. Tyrone
See website for details

15
16
17
18
19
20
21

Path Maintenance

Sunday 22nd April
Bog Meadows Nature Reserve Belfast
Free

23
24
25

Making Mitigation Work

Thursday 26th April
Red Cow Moran Hotel, Dublin
£45 – £160

LIFE Information Day – Dublin

Friday 27th April
Dublin
Free

28
29
30
     
 

Marine Litter Report published 7 March 2018

New Marine Litter Report Reveals Extent of Plastic Pollution on Northern Ireland’s Beaches (via Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful)


KNIB

The 2017 Marine Litter Report, published by Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful, has laid bare the state of our beaches in Northern Ireland when it comes to the litter landing on our shores. The organisation began these surveys in 2012, with an average of 510 items of litter being found per 100m of beach between then and now. An astonishing 79% of this litter was made of plastic, a figure that rises to 82% when you look at the 2017 data in isolation. Incredibly, 30% of the litter was a ‘single use plastic’, so called because the item is used once and then thrown away.

Much has been made of the plastic problem in the media recently, with shows like ‘Blue Planet II’ and the ‘Sky Ocean Rescue’ campaign shining the spotlight on what is a global issue and requires a global response. The Marine Litter Report also lends some insight into the matter, looking at the specific harm that plastic poses to some of our most beloved and protected marine animals. From leatherback turtles to the iconic Atlantic puffin, it seems that no creature is immune from the ubiquitous material and it is estimated that up to 99% of all seabirds will have ingested plastic by 2050 if no fundamental changes to plastic and waste consumption occurs. Furthermore, tiny fragments of plastic known as ‘microplastics’ have been found in 83% of tap water samples taken all around the world. This, combined with the plastics being found in our seafood, is a clear pathway for entry into the human body.

Dr Ian Humphries from Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful thinks the tide is starting to turn on marine litter, saying, “The damaging effects of littering, particularly of single use plastics that end up polluting our oceans, is clearly highlighted in this year’s report, which shows four items of litter for every step that we take along our coast. Thankfully, most people don’t litter, and growing awareness and calls for action spell the beginning of the end for this highly anti–social behaviour.”

The report also highlights the fantastic work being done by groups of volunteers from a range of different organisations. Over the course of 1,345 hours, 461 volunteers lifted 850 bags of rubbish across the ten beaches surveyed. This is just one form of environmental leadership outlined in the publication, which also draws attention to Ards and North Down Borough Council, who recently passed a motion to promote eco–friendly alternatives to single use plastics such as coffee cups and plastic straws. Schools have also been getting involved, with Mill Strand Integrated Primary School banning all plastic straws after one of their pupils saw a disturbing image of a turtle with a straw up its nose on social media.

The full report can now be downloaded from the Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful website.

The marine litter surveys are carried out four times a year by trained members of staff and dedicated volunteers. The data collected is also used by DAERA and the OSPAR Commission.