Fingal TD calling for removal of ‘beach litter mounds’

by Sylvia Pownall

Green Party TD Joe O’Brien has called for the immediate removal of mounds of buried litter on Fingal beaches.

Last summer the council was taken to task by An Taisce after Clean Coast groups posted videos of JCB diggers compacting waste – including dirty nappies – along shorelines.

Deputy O’Brien made the call after uncovering what he described as “a considerable mound” of rubbish on the South Strand at Skerries where it joins with Red Island.

Buried rubbish was also uncovered in Rush, Donabate and Balbriggan where a used syringe was unwittingly dug up by a group of children playing on Bell’s Beach.

Deputy O’Brien told Dublin Gazette: “This is not just a few stray pieces of plastic, this is large pieces of rubbish, like a piece of a car seat, old items of clothing, and the biggest curse of all, numerous large pieces of plastic buried in one area.

“I would stress this is only what is visible from the uncovered side of the mound, which was recently opened up from strong waves.

“The mound is basically a mixture of sand, old rotted seaweed and rubbish and it’s also clear that the rubbish has been there for some time, most likely a number of years.”

Deputy O’Brien has asked Fingal County Council to carry out an assessment of all Fingal beaches, to remove rubbish and to review beach-cleaning practices.

He added: “This is a big challenge for beaches trying to regain or retain Blue Flag status and for local Tidy Towns groups, and the council needs to do everything it can to remove these mounds of rubbish.

“Dead seaweed gets washed up on beaches on a regular basis, especially during winter. This is normal and natural, and is part of the ecosystem, so any interventions need to be done with care … Doing this with heavy machinery is not the best way.”

Fingal County Council said the beaches along its 88km coastline are litter-picked daily and mechanically cleaned on a weekly basis during the bathing season.

The local authority met with An Taisce last May and again in June, and agreed in July on foot of a report to unravel mounds of seaweed to remove non-organic material.

A council spokesperson said: “This exercise revealed that that the amount of non-organic material contained in the mounds was insignificant.

“The council proposes to prepare a beach management plan covering each of the council’s 11 designated bathing areas and this process will involve consultation with all relevant stakeholders including An Taisce, Clean Coasts Groups and local communities.”

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