Our first litter pick by sea

Published : 11 May 2018 Last update : 15 May 2018

Staff and volunteers from the Giant's Causeway recently teamed up with local marine businesses to co-ordinate their first ever litter pick at sea.

The new initiative was designed to tackle marine litter in bays which are inaccessible by land around the World Heritage Site.

A team of conservation rangers, staff and volunteers from the Giant's Causeway partnered with local marine businesses, Aquaholics, a sea diving provider; Causeway Lass, a chartered fishing boat; Long Line Surf School; and Causeway Coasteering, a group who provide coasteering daytrips across the Causeway Coast.

The large-scale litter pick saw the Causeway Lass and the Aquaholic's boat drop off pairs of volunteers to the various bays along the coastline and together they retrieved 15 bags of litter, mostly plastic and fishing debris. Due to deteriorating weather on the day, another 30 bags of litter had to be left on shore to be collected in calmer conditions.

While the site teams conduct daily litter picks on land at the Giant's Causeway site, this was the first time we had taken to the sea to access the shoreline we cannot reach on land.

 Commenting on the partnership National Trust Area Ranger, Dr Cliff Henry emphasised the importance of the event, 'With growing concerns about the volume of litter and plastic ending up in our waters, it is great to be able to work with local businesses to protect the natural habitats and wildlife around us. A recent report revealed that 82% of marine litter found in 2017 was plastic – this is certainly worrying, especially as 30% of all marine litter was single use plastic. It was great to get out on the water for our first ever litter pick at sea and do our bit towards tackling marine litter. We are now evaluating what we retrieved and planning how often we should be doing this as part of our conservation work.'