False teeth, vintage dolls and a bag of weed - just some of the items found on Irish beaches in 2023

Volunteers collected eight tonnes of rubbish from Ireland’s shores in 2023

A group of volunteers collected eight tonnes of rubbish from the beaches around Ireland last year.

The weight of material is the equivalent to the mass of 18 dolphins, according to the charity Flossie and the Beach Cleaners.

The charity is named after Flossie Donnelly (16), the daughter of Harriet Donnelly, who founded the charity in 2019.

In 2023 some 500 volunteers cleaned a huge and varied amount of detritus from Ireland’s beaches.


The inexhaustible list include wipes, sanitary pads, tampons, vapes, fishing rigs, cigarette butts, men’s pants, towels, trainers, plastic bottles and takeaway packaging.

The most bizarre findings include a mattress, a collection of heroin needles, a bag of weed, false teeth, a Second World War German doll’s boot, a plastic duck dating back from the 1960s which was made in Ireland and a Bank of Ireland Pass card from 1991.

Flossie Donnelly, who is the patron of the charity, said: “This year was recorded as one of hottest years in Ireland and the hottest year for Northern Ireland but the heat hasn’t only affected land it has also warmed the sea and broken many heat records around the world.

“The storms and the heat will only become more extreme if we don’t do something and a simple act of beach cleaning can do so much to help with climate change.”

Her mother Harriet said the total last year was five tonnes more than had been collected in 2022.

“Are people littering more or are the storms throwing more pollution onto our beaches?” she asked.

“Also with the endless storms many bins get blown over and the pollution can end up in the water.

“On a positive note as an environmental charity the one thing we did notice last year and were really grateful for is the increase of bins and general help from the councils around the country.”

Flossie and The Beach Cleaners tackle plastic pollution and climate change through entertaining educational workshops for junior and senior schools as well as working with corporations. They also run monthly national beach cleans, and weekly beach cleans in Dublin Bay.

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