Plastic bags, crisp packets, rope, a bucket and spade and even a message in a bottle wre just some of the items collected from Church Bay beach on Rathlin Island on a bright and windy Saturday afternoon, in a clean-up organised by the Rathlin Development and Community Association and Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful.
After a winter of storms battering the island, the beach was awash with litter from outside the island, much to the dismay of the island residents. The stormy weather didn’t deter the volunteers who came out in force to pick litter along Church Bay beach. Along with a clean-up kit provided by Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful, a small but enthusiastic group, and two dogs collected 16 bags of rubbish including plastic bottles, rope, plastic and even a letter in a bottle which came all the way from Iceland!
Rathlin Island is a beautiful, rugged and unspoilt landscape which is a haven for wildlife and is home to Northern Ireland’s largest seabird colony.
Aisling Gribbin, Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful said, “The amount of plastic buried in the sand, tiny plastic fragments and bits of rope was overwhelming. We tend to focus on the larger items such as bottles and plastic bags, but forget how much small material gets washed up and its longevity in the marine environment. It’s such a shame that this beautiful pristine island has to suffer the impacts of our throwaway society.”
David Quinney-Mee, from Rathlin Community and Development association, “The residents here are very proud of the island and they do their best to keep the seafront tidy, not only for themselves and the wildlife, but also for the many visitors to the island each year. Youth groups and friends of the island are dedicated workers and carry out a beach clean every month and are always surprised by the number of blue cotton bud sticks that yet washed up!
“The Adopt a Spot project works perfectly with the clean ups and we always appreciate the on-going support provided by Keep
Northern Ireland Beautiful. To top it off, we are always rewarded with a delicious bag of chips at the end of each clean up!”
The Adopt a Spot programme is a scheme that formally allows volunteer groups across Northern Ireland to adopt an area and look after it. Groups can be any, ranging from community groups, schools, sporting associations, and even families
and individuals. The adopted area can be any grot spot that you think needs a bit of TLC. Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful will provide groups with an adoption pack containing all the equipment you need, including litter pickers, a branded backpack, a first aid kit and a hints and tips booklet on how to run a successful clean up.
If you know of a local grot spot, and fancy Adopting a Spot, please contact Aisling Gribbin for more information on 028 9073 6920 or email Aisling.firstname.lastname@example.org.