A Challenge For August: Beach Bucket Challenge

A Challenge For August: Beach Bucket Challenge

Monthly Litter Challenge: July

The ‘Beach Bucket Challenge’

Has the recent glorious weather made you pack up the car and head to the seaside? Thousands of people have descended on our coasts in recent weeks and sadly, they’ve left a lot of litter behind. Beach litter not only spoils the look of our beautiful coastlines, but it’s a health hazard, it harms wildlife, and it pollutes our oceans.

So this July, we’re calling on you to join the ‘Beach Bucket Challenge,’ pick up some litter, and take it home with you.

So what is the Beach Bucket Challenge?

It all started in Northern Ireland at Ballycastle beach. Causeway Coast and Glens Council called on visitors to help keep beaches clean by picking up some litter.

The idea was the brainchild of a local café owner, Brenda Caher, who was inspired after she saw a group of school children picking up litter from the beach as part of their school eco-council project. Mrs. Caher then approached the council and asked if it could provide equipment to help.

The council provided litter pickers and biodegradable bags, and recycled litter collection buckets were donated by a local deli company. These are made available to people at the café then they can go off, pick up some litter, and bring it back to the café, where Mrs. Caher disposes of the rubbish properly. She said that the scheme has been a roaring success so far and other businesses at the coast have signed up to take part as part of a longer-term strategy to keep the coastline litter-free.

The council is understandably pleased about the success of the initiative which is just a part of the council’s wider environmental strategy that includes asking businesses to offer free water bottle refills and encouraging more recycling. The environmental resources officer, Declan Donnelly, said it’s so important to protect the coastline that is home to 140,000 people and which attracts millions of visitors each year.


Beach Bucket Challenge


How to get involved

You can join a local beach litter pick now that lockdown is easing and groups are starting to tentatively meet, or you can have your fun beach day out and get the kids involved in picking up some litter.  Once they’ve finished building sandcastles with their buckets and spades, encourage them to pick up a few pieces of litter and put them in their bucket. Take the litter to a public bin or, if bins are full (many councils have restricted public bin emptying during the pandemic), put the litter in a plastic bag, tie it securely and dispose of it in your bin when you get home.

Staying safe when picking up litter on the beach

  • If you’re on an organised litter pick, you should have access to a litter picker so you don’t have to make contact with the litter or bend constantly. You can also invest in your own if you want to pick litter regularly.
  • Wearing gloves is important to avoid exposure to germs/dangerous materials.
  • Wear footwear to protect you from things like shards of broken glass which are tough to spot on the sand.
  • Don’t pick up broken glass by hand.
  • Never touch items like syringes/drug-related litter. Report it immediately to your local council as this needs to be disposed of in a particular way.
  • Don’t move any containers that contain unknown liquids, they could be hazardous. This also needs to be reported to your local council.
  • Have strict rules for the kids. Ask them to pick up things like sweet wrappers or plastic bags and bottles only to minimise the risk of hurting themselves or touching something hazardous.

Enjoy your sunny days out but remember that the beach is there to be enjoyed by everyone. Do your bit this July and help keep it safe and clean for people and wildlife for generations to come.