Clean start to 2019 for 11-year-old environmental hero

by Rebecca Ryan
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It’s set to be another busy year ahead for an inspiring 11-year-old from Sandycove whose passion is looking after the environment and keeping our beaches clean.

Flossie Donnelly, a sixth-class student who aspires to be a marine biologist, but also be a rock star, started off the new year by holding a huge clean up on Killiney Beach on New Year’s Day.

Last year was a big year for Flossie. Ireland got its first sea-bin – a floating device which captures and removes waste, especially plastics, from the ocean – in Dun Laoghaire Harbour thanks to the young activist’s fundraising efforts.

Speaking of the achievement, Flossie told Dublin Gazette she was so happy to see the sea-bin come to Dun Laoghaire.

“When the sea-bins finally arrived in Ireland I was so so happy because it took so much fundraising and a couple of people said it couldn’t happen, but it did, and it was amazing.”

Flossie took an interest in looking after the environment when she was kayaking in Thailand with her parents at the age of seven and noticed all the plastic in the sea.

At home, she noticed the problem of rubbish on our beaches, so she set up the group ‘Flossie and the Beach Cleaners’.

“The reason I set up a beach cleaning group was because my parents and I moved to a house next to the sea and whenever we were on the beach, I would notice all the rubbish and I knew I would need help to clean it.

“My Mum and I clean the beach every week, all year round, and every day during the summer if it is really bad!”

Flossie thinks Ireland is “doing its best” in terms of helping the environment but believes we could do even better.

“If you can, you could try to cut down on all plastic, for example stop using clingfilm. It’s the worst type of plastic… And, if you ever go on a walk, try to bring a bag with you to pick up the rubbish along the way.

“But one of the most important things is, that after you spend a hard week recycling your rubbish for the green bin, try not to put it all in a big black plastic bag. The black bag is not re-cyclable and means it will ruin all our hard work of recycling.

“Also, you have to remember this might be a negative subject but if we work together, we can make this positive and win!”

Flossie’s family are very proud of her, and her mother, Harriet, said: “We are immensely proud of Flossie and all she has achieved in the last 18 months. We had no idea how much notice she was taking of the destruction to our planet, she opened our eyes!”

If you would like to follow the incredible work Flossie does, visit or Flossie And The Beach Cleaners across social media.

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