06 June 2017
Gillian Shields, Coca-Cola Ireland and Northern Ireland; Kian Egan and Nicola Fitzsimons from Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful launch Clean Coasts Week 2017.
Research released by Coca-Cola at the launch of Coca-Cola Clean Coasts Week (2nd – 11th June) revealed that 97% of people across Northern Ireland have encountered litter at the island’s coastline, with four in ten people naming litter as the greatest deterrent in visiting the coast after overcrowding. While the majority of respondents have experienced litter on our coastline, just 15% of people admit to having dropped litter themselves.
Coca-Cola Clean Coasts Week aims to educate, and foster pride in our precious coastline, while empowering community groups across the country to get involved in one of the hundreds of coastal clean-ups and events taking place.
With an increase of 12% in 2016, Northern Ireland drew 2.6 million visitors to the province, generating £614m in tourism revenue. The northern coastline remains a valuable asset to this tourism industry, and while a lot of us have experienced litter while at the beach, as a nation we take a lot of pride in our coastlines. Almost three quarters (72%) of people have celebrated our stunning coastline on social media, with Facebook the most widely used platform followed by Instagram.
To celebrate the world’s love of our coastline Coca-Cola Clean Coasts Week has teamed up with popular Instagram account InstaIreland to showcase the beauty of the island’s coastline over the course of the week.
Speaking at the launch of Coca-Cola Clean Coasts Week, musician, TV presenter and avid surfer Kian Egan said; “Together with Coca-Cola, Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful and An Taisce, I’m delighted to help generate awareness of the importance of protecting our beaches. Ireland has some of the most beautiful coastlines in the world and we really don’t realise how lucky we are. As a keen surfer, I see first-hand the benefits of looking after our coasts and unfortunately also the damage that can be done by littering. I’m encouraging everyone to take stock of their own contribution to keeping our beaches clean, and I also want to celebrate the volunteers up and down this island who give a huge amount of their time and energy to protect our coast. Last year during Coca-Cola Clean Coasts Week, more than 10 tonnes of marine litter was removed from the coastline and with a little help, we can make as much of an impact again in 2017.”
The research released today also reveals that a significant number of people are discarding items they do not consider litter. Over three in ten people in Northern Ireland do not consider fruit to be litter as it is biodegradable, however although organic it still takes time to break down and can cause damage to the coast and marine-life. Previous research by Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful shows a lack of knowledge on the consequences of littering and the effect this has on our coastline, which in turn promotes littering.
Speaking about the launch, Ian Humphreys from Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful said; “This year, we celebrate 10 years of Coca-Cola Clean Coasts Week in Northern Ireland, and are proud to report that our efforts have supported tens of thousands of volunteers over the years to keep our precious beaches free of litter. We hope the 2017 campaign will be the most successful yet and I would like to take the opportunity to thank our volunteers who make a significant impact, working towards the important goal of protecting our marine environment.”
Speaking at this year’s launch Matthieu Seguin, General Manager, Coca-Cola HBC Ireland and Northern Ireland said, “Our investment the Clean Coasts programmes spans 14 years, and we are very proud of our long-standing partnership An Taisce and Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful. As leaders in sustainability, we strive to minimise our impact on the environment and a key element of our efforts is focused on environmental stewardship within communities; encouraging people to act responsibly when it comes to disposing of waste. With Clean Coasts Week 2017, we aim to foster pride in our coastline, while reminding beach-goers of the importance of keeping our coasts litter free.”
Local artist Daragh Muldowney, speaking on his experience exploring Ireland’s rock pools for his exhibition ‘Jewellery Box - Ireland’s Hidden Gems', said “I have travelled all over the world and nothing compares to our coastline. People flock from all over the world and draw inspiration from its beauty, so as the residents of Ireland it is up to us to do our part to protect and celebrate that beauty. With our online exhibition in partnership with InstaIreland, I hope we will encourage everyone to be mindful of litter when enjoying the coast.”
There are 26,000 volunteers, over 700 volunteer groups and 300 events already planned for Coca-Cola Clean Coasts Week. There are many ways to get involved, from taking personal litter home to helping out at a local beach clean event, or something different such as yoga on the beach in Newtownabbey or a drum circle on the sand in Newcastle. Information of key events can be found on www.liveherelovehere.org