Just 2 minutes of your beach time can make a difference

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Not only does litter spoil the beauty of our beaches, it has a more serious impact on marine life and their habitats. #2MinuteBeachClean encourages everyone to join the growing movement of people, reducing marine litter 2 minutes at a time. Each and every piece of marine litter and plastic removed from the beach matters and helps keep our coasts clean.


#2MinuteBeachClean is a citizen initiative, created by Martin Dorey, operated as part of An Taisce’s Clean Coasts programme and is supported by the Department of Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government. Each time you visit the beach, whether you are going for a swim or walking the dog, it’s easy to make time for a short beach clean. You just pick up a few bits of litter when you go to the beach, take a photo of the litter and post on social media (twitter or Instagram using the #2minutebeachclean) and then put the litter in the bin. It’s that easy. Blue Flag beaches have #2minutebeachclean stations with bags and litter pickers you can borrow to make it easier for anyone to help keep our beaches litter free.

Marine litter

Marine litter comes from a range of land and sea-based activities and sources and can be plastic, metal, wood, rubber, glass or paper. Plastic litter kills an estimated 100,000 marine mammals and turtles worldwide every year including 30,000 seals and up to one million seabirds, due to either entanglement or ingestion.

What we find on our beaches is only part of the marine litter load in the environment. It is estimated that 15% of marine litter ends up on our beaches, 15% floats in the water column and 70% of marine litter rests on the seabed. In some areas, plastic accounts for 80% of the litter and can remain in the marine environment for possibly as long as hundreds of years. Marine experts fear there could be more plastic than fish in the ocean by 2050, measured by weight, according to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, a UK-based charity working to end waste in the economy.

Marine litter is a cross-border problem as once it enters the sea, marine litter has no owner and its management needs good regional and international collaboration. Initiatives like the #2MinuteBeachClean and the Clean Coasts programme are ways you can help as every piece of litter removed from the marine environment is a piece of litter that won’t pollute our oceans or be ingested by marine life.

The EPA Bathing Water Team

About the author: The EPA are the environmental regulator. The EPA bathing water team make sure that local authorities carry out their functions under the Bathing Water Regulations and publish the annual bathing water quality report. The latest information about bathing water quality is always available on beaches.ie and you can follow us on Twitter for incident alerts - @EPABeaches