Sunday, June 16, 2024


LOCAL rowers will soon be helping turn the tide on marine litter and plastic pollution. Dundrum Coastal Rowing Club has just received a new boat which its members will use when out and about along the local shoreline.

Swapping oars as their usual means of propulsion for a powerful outboard engine, this new vessel, with its clever construction, allows it to be manoeuvred into shallower waters, including rivers which feed into Dundrum Bay, so those out on litter patrol can grab as much rubbish as possible. It will also mean that areas which are not so easily accessible by foot can be targeted.

The multi-award-winning local club showed off the dinghy’s capabilities at a special event in the waters off Dundrum on Saturday morning, when the boat was officially handed over by its funder, Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful. Speaking after the boat’s maiden voyage on Saturday, club member Cathal Ó hÍr explained that the £18,000 award from the charity will play an important role in tackling the blight that is marine litter; and that this boat will allow for the recovery of litter in areas of Dundrum Bay that cannot be safely reached by foot. “We are delighted to have been awarded funding for the shallow draft boat, which will allow us to carry out regular clean-ups along Dundrum Bay and its four contributing rivers,” explained Cathal. “This boat will provide access to areas not safely reachable from land. This will help, not only to improve the shoreline in terms of biodiversity and aesthetics, but also the health and wellbeing of our local community.”

He added that the club will now also be able to carry out educational awareness projects, “demonstrating how marine litter can damage our beautiful area and how with this boat we can alleviate this harm”. Chris Gourley, Waste and Pollutions Solution Strategic Lead at Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful, said the specific grant scheme through which this boat was funded is designed to reduce the environmental impact of litter on our marine eco systems. “We have been delighted with the diverse range of innovative projects this year, which want to tackle waste entering the marine environment as well as removing what is already there,” he said.

Noting that the most commonly found litter is plastic, Mr Gourley added that marine litter “is a global challenge, affecting the world’s oceans, seas, coastlines and shores” and that a wide range of material such as plastics, metals and glass end up in our marine environments and these all decompose very slowly – if at all.

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