Plastic beads in Grand Canal posing a major threat to wildlife

by Juliana Reyes

A large amount of small plastic beads from a burst sleeping bag are floating through the Grand Canal, posing a major threat to wildlife in the area.

The small polystyrene beads have been floating through the water from Sally’s Bridge at Clogher Road down to Portobello Dock since July 6. Canal Volunteers have tried their best to clean them up, however there is still a large amount flowing down the canal.

The main concern is the negative effects that the beads could have wildlife since birds and swans are most likely to think they are food and attempt to eat the plastic pieces, which may then make the animals sick.

This situation is under the responsibility of the Waterways Ireland, who were notified of the incident on July 9.

In response to queries on the incident, Waterways Ireland said: “Our Operations team are looking to see what resources can be allocated to remove this. A vessel is required to access this stretch and at present our boats are positioned as a priority to cut weeds to ensure water can flow in to Dublin canals.”

Labour Councillor for Kimmage Rathmines, Mary Freehill, has been vocal about the situation in the last few weeks.

Speaking on the foreign objects in the water, Cllr Freehill said: “This microplastic waste is a threat to wildlife, and the lack of a priority response is unacceptable. Meanwhile our birds and swans are at risk of ingesting these beads.

“This is just another example of how when services are centralised and dispersed that local government is powerless to run the city.”

There has been no other developments on when the plastic beads are going to swept from the Grand Canal.

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