Old Head in Mayo and Strandhill in Sligo are two of just ten beaches nationally categorised as  ‘Clean to European norms’, according to a litter survey by business group Irish Business Against Litter (IBAL).

Beaches, harbours, rivers and their immediate environs were monitored by the Environmental Education Unit of An Taisce in June and July this year and two Mayo beaches featured – Old Head and Keel beach in Achill.

Keel was considered “Littered”, as were three beaches in Galway - Salthill, Loughrea and Dogs Bay.

There were four categories in the survey of 32 coastal areas nationally and they were - Clean to European Norms, Moderately Littered, Littered or Heavily Littered.

The An Taisce report for Old Head reads  - “The overall impression with regard to litter at Old Head was a good one, with a virtual absence of litter throughout.  There was a 'Leave nothing behind, only your footprints in the sand' sign to discourage littering on the beach and a '2 Minute Beach Clean' Board to encourage a quick clean-up. The notice boards / signage were in good order and the immediate hinterland was well presented and maintained.  There was very little litter throughout the area surveyed, with marine rope tangled in the lying seaweed the most obvious.” 

The report for Keel states:  “By virtue of stony nature of some of this beach, on first impressions the area seemed not to bad with regard to litter;  However, closer inspection revealed significant marine related items (rope, nets and fishing line on the beach) and alcohol related litter (trapped in the marram grass); As well as a wide variety of food related items, there were also some car tyres, battery and dead seagull; the style of litter bins were such that they were not covered (litter could easily blow out with gust of wind or be picked at by birds); there didn't appear to be any bins at the overflowing parking area to the left of the access road;   the area surrounding the various businesses were clean and tidy.”

Conor Horgan of IBAl spoke to Midwest News Editor Teresa O’Malley about the results of this latest coastal litter survey...