The National Trust’s conservation ranger team at the Giant’s Causeway has teamed up with local marine businesses and volunteers to co-ordinate its first ever litter pick at sea to mark World Heritage Day on Wednesday 18 April.
The National Trust is working in partnership with Aquaholics, Causeway Lass and Causeway Coasteering in a new initiative to tackle marine litter. The large-scale litter pick took place on Tuesday 17 April along the inaccessible bays between Dunseverick Castle and the Giant’s Causeway World Heritage Site.
The initiative which saw a fleet of boats, including the Causeway Lass, the Aquaholic’s boat and a chartered fishing vessel, along with volunteers from Long Line Surf take to the water to retrieve rubbish and drop off pairs of volunteers to the various bays along the coastline. Six Causeway Coasteering volunteers worked in pairs to swim in and out of the bays to retrieve not only rubbish and plastic but an entire fishing net and several huge tangles of rope that the rangers had identified in a survey.
While the National Trust conduct daily litter picks on land, this is the first time the conservation rangers have expanded their efforts to clear rubbish and plastic from the shores of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. The litter pick saw the local businesses come together in the hope of raising awareness and tackling the issue of marine litter and plastic pollution.
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.”
As a leading conservation charity, the National Trust is committed to protecting its special places, and the litter pick at the North Coast is part of a wider effort to restore the environment and maintain the beauty of these special places.