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Data on sewage-related litter collected during beach visit


From this week's Galway City Tribune

From this week's Galway City Tribune

Data on sewage-related litter collected during beach visit Data on sewage-related litter collected during beach visit

Citizen scientists have taken part in a visit to Claddagh Beach to collect data on sewage-related litter and plastics.

It forms part of a citizen science research initiative to highlight the link between the toilet and the ocean and how sewage-related litter can end up on our beaches.

The visit was organised by Clean Coasts together with Shore Things, a Galway City Partnership initiative, and took place earlier this month.

The meet up included members of Galway City Partnership – the local and community development company working in the city, aimed at tackling disadvantage and social exclusion with a particular focus on helping those who are long term unemployed.  Clean Coasts group the Shore Things, led Tony Buckley, who are to the fore in cleaning Galway’s beaches were also busy collecting scientific data at the event.

Talking about the importance of citizen science and the need to protect our local environment to help local communities thrive Anthony Skeffington of Uisce Éireann said: “Every day, people flush thousands of sanitary items such as wet wipes and cotton buds down the toilet instead of simply putting them in the bin.

“This causes blockages in our network, pumping stations and wastewater treatment plants and can lead to sewage overflows impacting some of our most beautiful coastal and river locations. We clear approximately 10,000 blockages from our wastewater network every year.

“We are delighted to continue our partnership with Clean Coasts and collaborate with Galway City Council and the Claddagh community to preserve and protect our environment and shine a light on the link between what you flush down the toilet and can end up on your local beach,” said Mr Skeffington.

Tony Buckley, Galway City Partnership, Tús Team Leader said the group was delighted to take part in the citizen science project looking at micro plastics.

“We also learned a lot about sewage related litter on our visit to Claddagh Beach and the steps we can all take to prevent these items washing up on our shores,” he said.

The ‘Think Before You Flush’ campaign emphasises the importance of appropriate flushing behaviour and disposal of items including wipes and other sanitary products in the bin, even if they are labelled as flushable.

Only the 3 Ps – pee, poo and paper – should be flushed down the toilet. When items such as wipes and sanitary products are flushed down the toilet, they can cause serious blockages in sewage systems, causing sewage overflows and ultimately can end up polluting coastal waters and beaches.

Photo: Volunteers examining rubbish washed up on the beach in Claddagh.

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