Flossie Donnelly, a 12-year old student who has become synonymous with clearing south Dublin beaches of plastic waste has launched her very own charity, ‘Flossie and the Beach Cleaners’.

Launched recently at the National Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire, 120 people gathered at the seaside venue to support the organisation that aims to tackle coastal pollution.

‘Flossie and the Beach Cleaners’ was established to develop a network of south Dublin residents who wish get involved in beach cleaning.

The charity will also strive to educate primary school children on the importance of coastal stewardship and connect students in Ireland with students in countries where plastic pollution has reached crisis levels.

“I was seven when I was kayaking in Thailand, and plastic was floating all around me,” says Donnelly.

“I realised we can’t keep making and throwing away plastic the way we are now.”

“In Thailand, it felt like the whole of the sea was full of plastic. I started to learn about what the plastic does to marine life and I had to do something about it,” says Donnelly, who runs a weekly blog highlighting what she finds on the shoreline.

The charity aims to train transition year students to deliver workshops on plastic pollution in primary schools, invest in VR headsets that will give children a virtual visit to plastic-ridden rivers around the world, develop a ‘Flossie and The Beach Cleaners’ school network – connecting with countries most effected by plastic pollution – and hold regular beach clean-ups and other events to help educate people about plastic pollution.

Flossie’s mother, Harriet Donnelly, says that the secret to effective environmental activism is positivity, especially when it comes to children.

“Children have the power to make a change when it comes to the environment, but it’s important to remember that they need to have fun too,’ she says.

“Climate breakdown is real and urgent, but we don’t want our children to feel scared and powerless.

“Through initiatives like Flossie and The Beach Cleaners we want to create the infrastructure to allow children to use their energy, creativity and sense of justice to protect our planet.”