More than 10 tonnes of litter was removed from one Dublin beach alone today after thousands of sunseekers flocked to the coast to bask in the hot weather and then left their rubbish behind.
eaches across the capital were thronged on Monday amid record-breaking temperatures of 33C. However Burrow Beach in Sutton, Velvet Strand in Portmarnock and the Forty Foot in Dún Laoghaire were all heavily littered this morning.
The clean-up operation began early this morning and it took over six hours to clean Burrow Beach where 10 tonnes of rubbish were removed by Fingal County Council workers.
A spokesperson for the council said: “Our crews have been working since 5.30am this morning at all beaches and by way of example, it has taken over six hours to clean Burrow Beach again today with additional staff and equipment.
“Vans and tractors and trailers have been hauling the bags away once filled by the staff. In excess of 10 tonnes of litter was removed from Burrow Beach alone.”
The council said it had installed 22 new bins at the beach in recent weeks, however several were destroyed after people placed disposable barbecues that were still hot in the bins.
“Our staff have also reported that burnt out bins have occurred due to hot barbecues being placed in bins, despite the warning signs we have in place not to do this. We would remind the public not to dispose of hot barbecues into the bins.”
Green councillor David Healy said the situation on beaches in the Fingal area is worse than anything he has seen before.
“On the beaches in Portmarnock and Burrow Beach this is worse than anything we have seen before, even over the last two summers during the Covid lockdowns,” he said.
“The cleaning staff usually arrive on the beach at 6am and are finished by 9am but knowing the extent of the problem they arrived early today around 5.30am and they still haven’t finished at 12.30pm, so it’s a significant problem.
“We put 22 extra bins out on Burrow Beach over the last couple of weeks and it hasn’t got any better. If people are able to bring the rubbish to the beach, they should be able to bring it home.”
Cllr Healy urged the public to not blame council staff for the litter blighting Dublin’s beaches.
“People are annoyed about it but I want to remind them the people they should be annoyed at are other members of the public and not the council staff that are cleaning it up. There are instances that staff are getting abuse from members of the public because of the litter they are trying to clean up and it’s just ridiculous.”
Green councillor Tom Kivlehan, of Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County Council, said the public need to be reminded that the more litter produced the more money it will cost them due to charges for rubbish collection.
“Dún Laoghaire has performed well in clean areas and so on and we spend a lot of money and that’s what people forget. Throwing rubbish on the ground is a charge to them, the money has to come from property tax and the more we have to spend on waste collection, the more money we have to get from property tax,” he said.
“I would ask people to take their litter home and that’s what everybody should do, bring a small bag with them, take it home, segregate it and recycle it. It’s not a difficult job, they do it in many different countries and people have to start standing up and point out to people not to leave their little behind.”
Cllr Kivlehan also looked at the environmental effects that it has on an area and how people need to realise that they are hurting wildlife and biodiversity.
“Sandycove and Forty Foot is a biodiverse area, there are seals, lots of birds, seagulls and if they are leaving food or plastic around and it ends up in the sea, marine animals are very vulnerable to this.
“In general, for wildlife, for the biodiversity of the area, for the wellness of our seas, this is not good, any litter along the coast could end up in the sea. We are trying to protect the area as much as possible and this is just irresponsible people leaving waste in an area that could damage that.
“Most people to pick up their litter and do dispose of it but some people go down to enjoy the sea and end up destroying what they came there to enjoy.”
A spokesperson for Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County Council said it has staff on site continuously during the busier season.
“We have teams of staff that attend to emptying the bins and litter picking as the staff move along the coastline on a continuous rotation,” they said.
Many people took to Twitter to share their thoughts on the state of the beaches after the mini-heatwave.
One user wrote: “Should bins be provided? Yes. Would people use them? Some would. Others will just leave their rubbish behind no matter what. If the bins are full, should people not take a bit of personal responsibility and take their rubbish home with them?”
“FFS folks, if you’re going to the beach with something, have a plan on how it’s getting home, the vast majority would have been local people too, do better folks,” another user wrote in response to a picture of Burrow Beach.
A third writing: “That’s a pretty awful sight. No regards for environment and no respect for those that have use that beach today or those tasked to clean it. Sad to see.”
With a fourth tweeting: “Jesus wept – is this seriously what we are now? And we expect these people to take up the fight against climate change?”
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