Some of Ireland’s most popular beaches have become dirtier this past year.
Every year Irish Business Against Litter conducts a survey of the nation’s beaches and this year’s was a “disappointing result”.
The group inspected 33 areas - which included harbours, rivers and numerous beaches - but only eight were judged to be clean.
“We also had some very heavily littered areas; Cork Harbour and Blackrock Castle, the Tolka River at Annesley Bridge and the Grand Canal Dock,” IBAL spokesman Conor Horgan told Newstalk Breakfast.
“But one particular trend of note was how our most popular beaches have slipped in terms of cleanliness.
“Beaches like Lahinch, Brittas Bay, Curracloe, Portmarnock and Stranhill, these were all clean this time last year, they’re moderately littered this time now.
“I’m not saying they’re heavily littered - but obviously they’re not as clean as they should be and that’s disappointing.”
The end of compulsory mask wearing means that the group found far fewer items of PPE than they had in 2021 but Mr Horgan said there were significant quantities of other items.
“They [coffee cups] were present in half of all the areas we surveyed,” he lamented.
“The most common forms of litter are cigarette butts, sweet wrappers and plastic bottles.
“And of course, plastic is the key word here because when we’re talking about litter at our beaches, we’re not just talking about the visual impact, we’re talking about an environmental impact that we’re learning more and more about.”
“Millions of tons of plastic are hitting our oceans every year and threatening our very survival as a planet… Even a cigarette butt has the potential to contaminate our environment more than you think.”
Main image: Litter on a beach. Picture by: PA.