ALMOST 3.5 tonnes (3,456 kg) of pollution was removed from Irish rivers, canals, lakes and beaches last bank holiday weekend thanks to Flossie and The Beach Cleaners’ ‘Big Weigh In’.
The local community clean-up, kicked off over the weekend, with volunteers right across the 26 counties cleaning their local waterways on the same day at the same time.
Supported by Peopl. Insurance, the eco initiative aimed to quantify the weight of pollution that is present, in and around our rivers, canals, lakes and beaches at any point in time.
Volunteer groups received special ‘Flossie Packs’ for cleaning up, with gloves and bags and weighing scales to keep track of all the rubbish collected, as well as beanie hats and swimming hats for helpers.
On top of COVID-19, environmental science leaves no doubt that the planet is suffering its own pandemic, according to Flossie Donnelly, the 14-year-old student who originally started the beach cleaning group in south county Dublin in 2017, that inspired the formation of the charity.
“Destructive climate change is evident all around us, and it will take everyone’s support to solve. As an environmental charity we see first-hand how much extra pollution has been created during the pandemic including masks, drinks bottles and hand sanitiser bottles that pollute our waterways and kill marine life”, according to Flossie’s Mum Harriet Donnelly.
Flossie and The Beach Cleaners thanked all the volunteers involved in the country’s very first 26 county water pollution weigh-in, and acknowledged the backing of Peopl. Insurance, the Irish Credit Unions insurance provider.
Known as a fun marine environmental charity, Flossie and The Beach Cleaners tackle plastic pollution and climate change through fun educational workshops and weekly beach cleans.
Encouraging individuals, schools or businesses to host a workshop or stage a beach clean, as a volunteer herself, Flossie Donnelly said volunteering is great fun, in a great cause, and the perfect way to connect with the community.
“Our Big Weigh In event illustrates just how much damaging rubbish is destroying our beautiful natural amenities and hurting marine and wildlife. Being part of the solution, and organising a clean-up, shows young people that they can make a difference, and changes attitudes to casual littering and the damage it causes”, Harriet Donnelly says.
Paul Walsh, Peopl. Insurance CEO, took part in a Dublin beach clean and says it is inspirational to see so many people who care deeply about our environmental impact.
“Irish communities faced the pandemic challenge and, by working together, are beating the virus. Similarly, we can tackle environmental pollution together and improve our surroundings for everyone, including our natural wildlife. Peopl. Insurance is proud to support Flossie & The Beach Cleaners, and we want to thank all the volunteers for their tremendous work”, he said.