Roadshow – Bettystown, Meath.

Cllr Elaine McGinty – Cathaoirleach of Laytown – Bettystown Municipal District Co Meath

As many of you will be aware, Saturday 11th June was World Ocean Day. We’re not called the Blue Planet for nothing, the seas of the world surrounding us on all sides. For reasons too numerous to list here, these salty waters are absolutely vital for our survival and continued existence. We’ll offer one example: research indicates that at least half of the oxygen on the earth comes from our oceans. In terms of the aforementioned “continued existence”, that’s quite useful!

However, we all know that our oceans, like so many other vital habitats, are under threat and one of the many threats they face is litter on a barely conceivable scale. And right near the top of that litter list is plastic. It was therefore serendipitous that Bettystown Tidy Towns group (at the suggestion of Bernadine Carry, Environmental Awareness Officer with Meath County Council) asked the Return for Change campaign to join them for a beach clean, along the very stretch of coast line where the Tara Broach was supposedly found.

We didn’t find any priceless relics on Saturday but we did find plenty of people who were very interested to find out about the deposit return scheme and how one will be introduced in Ireland very soon. The weather – aka the Irish summer – certainly wasn’t conducive to encourage throngs of eager beach-goers but enough people were around to make sure that the beach was left looking immaculate. And we’d like to think that many of them also came away knowing a lot more about the steps being taken to ensure that, in the not-too-distant future, the tens of millions of plastic bottles currently making their way into the waters around Ireland each year will instead by gainfully collected for recycling.