Beach parties 'putting sensitive coastal landscape at risk'

Beach parties are putting an environmentally sensitive coastal landscape at risk.
Beach parties 'putting sensitive coastal landscape at risk'
Volunteers cleaning up in the dunes at Ardnahinch beach at the weekend. Picture: Cathal Noonan
Volunteers cleaning up a campsite in the dunes at Ardnahinch beach at the weekend. Picture: Cathal Noonan
Volunteers cleaning up a campsite in the dunes at Ardnahinch beach at the weekend. Picture: Cathal Noonan

Beach parties are putting an environmentally sensitive coastal landscape at risk.

And those involved are also putting themselves at risk by partying so close to tidal inlets and reed beds.

The warning came from environmentalists in East Cork yesterday who have now requested a meeting the National Parks and Wildlife Service to discuss ways of clamping down on the activity which is affecting beaches and dunes in the Ballycotton Bay Special Protection Area (SPA).

The area supports several species of wintering waterbirds and has nationally important populations of 11 species.

But members of the Ballynamona Clean Coasts group, the country's largest such volunteer beach cleaning group, said they had to clean up after another spate of parties on beaches in the area at the weekend.

They caught three bleary-eyed revellers at their litter-strewn campsite on the dunes behind Ardnahinch beach on Sunday morning and got them to help in the clean up.

Volunteers cleaning up in the dunes at Ardnahinch beach at the weekend. Picture: Cathal Noonan
Volunteers cleaning up in the dunes at Ardnahinch beach at the weekend. Picture: Cathal Noonan

“As we arrived to do our beach clean, we saw some young people leaving, and one of them was, to put it mildly, pickled. And when we got down to the beach, three of them were still there at the tents," he said.

“They said they were from Cork city, and were invited down to stay with friends who were staying in the area.

“They seemed mortified and embarrassed that they were caught and they were giving out that they had been abandoned by their friends.

“We found broken beer bottles, rizzla papers, cigarette butts, disposable barbecues, tents, beach chairs all abandoned there. And what’s worse is that we saw some people who looked old enough to be their parents collecting from the area.”

Just some of the litter collected by volunteers at Ardnahinch beach at the weekend. Picture: Cathal Noonan
Just some of the litter collected by volunteers at Ardnahinch beach at the weekend. Picture: Cathal Noonan

The Clean Coasts group, which with 275-volunteers is the largest such group in the country, hopes to discuss ways of preventing such activity with the NPWS.

Mr Ó Tuama said the volunteers celebrated at the weekend when they raised the recently awarded Clean Coasts flag at the Ardnahinch car park, but he said having to clean up after such camping activity almost weekly during the summer is disheartening.

“It was such a good-spirited beach clean, it felt good to be out making a difference, but it just kills it when you’re picking up party after party,” he said.

He appealed specifically to parents of teenagers, who are dropping or collecting their children from the area, to be aware of the impact such camping activity is having on the environment.

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