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90% of Beach Litter made from Plastic, Charity Finds

David McCann   Tue 31 Oct 2023

The amount of litter on Northern Ireland’s beaches fell in 2022, according to data published by environmental charity Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful.

The Marine Litter Report, which enters its 10th year in 2023 and is funded by the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA), shows that the average number of litter items present per 100 metres of beach surveyed last year was 542, down from a record-breaking 752 in the previous year.

There was less progress, however, on the issue of plastics at coastal locations, which reached an all-time high of 90% of all litter recorded. Overall, 26,002 items of litter were detected on beaches surveyed in 2022.

Dr Ian Humphreys, CEO of Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful said:

“Although we found less litter on our beaches in 2022, we are clear that this is no reason for celebration or a sign that we are yet on the right path. The reality is that the 2022 data is our fourth worst on record, and there is still simply too much litter polluting and pulling down our marine spaces.

“We are particularly alarmed that plastic pollution has now reached a peak of 90% of all litter that we encountered on our reference beaches. After 10 years of conducting these surveys, this is the biggest indication yet that we need to get serious about phasing out plastics, if we want to protect our marine environment and wider planet from the destructive effects of litter.”

DAERA Permanent Secretary Katrina Godfrey said, “I would like to thank KNIB, the volunteers and partner organisations for their co-operation in working on beach cleans over many years. We can now see trends over the last decade to help us target action going forward.

We all have a responsibility to reduce our litter footprint and protect our environment and ensure that Northern Ireland is a great place to live in or to visit.

The Department continues to provide funding to encourage innovative projects aimed at how to prevent litter entering Northern Ireland’s marine environment and over £170k has been made available for the Marine Litter Capital Grants Scheme in 2023-24.

The Department also provides significant funding to KNIB through the Environmental Fund (£800k this financial year) to promote behavioural change and environmental awareness."

Other findings made available in the Marine Litter Report include the contents of the ‘Terrible Ten’ most commonly observed litter culprits across beaches, which is dominated by plastic and polystyrene fragments sized under 2.5cm. Spring is also revealed as the most frequent season for sightings of litter at shore, with 7,894 items noted during this part of the year alone in 2022.

One area of litter that did see a significant reduction was the number of heavy-duty gloves that washed up on land. Compared with the previous year’s data, the publication discloses that jettison from fishing-industry PPE dropped by 65% in 2022, falling from 1,012 to 660.

The Marine Litter Report is an annual survey of 12 beaches around Northern Ireland’s coasts that are assessed by a team of trained operatives during the four seasons of the year. Drawing on the international OSPAR methodology, the results from each survey are added to a central database of 15 governments and the EU cooperate to protect the marine environment of the North-East Atlantic.

Read the Marine Litter Report at www.keepnorthernirelandbeautiful.org/marinelitter.

Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful Launch Plastic Survey In The Sports Arena

Maria McLaughlin    Mon 16 Oct 2023   updated: Tue 21 Nov 2023

Insights needed on the impact of single-use plastics in sports

Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful has launched a timely survey aimed at assessing the impact of single-use plastics in Northern Ireland's sports clubs.

The online questionnaire is part of the charity’s work on waste and pollution, which seeks to understand and reduce the impact of plastic pollution in the Northern Ireland environment.

Chris Gourley, Waste and Pollution Solutions Strategic Lead comments, “This survey is about us gaining valuable insights into how sports clubs tackle plastic waste, and the challenges they face when doing so.”

The “Single-Use Plastics Usage in Northern Ireland's Sports Clubs” survey is open to new responses until 13 November 2023.

All responses received will help to provide a comprehensive overview of the efforts being made in the sports community to reduce single-use plastics and ramp up efforts to shape effective strategies for the future.

Chris continues, “We already know that there are clubs doing sterling work to reduce waste and in particular single-use plastic waste. Sports clubs are in a unique position of influence and can really set a good example leading the way in sustainability”.

This survey and the subsequent report on the Impact of Single-Use Plastics Usage in Northern Ireland's Sports Clubs have been made possible through the support and collaboration of the Department of Agriculture, Environment, and Rural Affairs (DAERA). All responses will be kept confidential and anonymous.


For more information contact:

Maria McLaughlin

Tackling Plastic Communication Officer



Pilot scheme tackled single-use plastic and period poverty

Belfast City Council is celebrating after winning a Behaviour Change Award for tackling single-use plastic.

The council was awarded the accolade by environmental charity Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful for its trailblazing free reusable period products project, which has been recognised as an impactful and pioneering initiative.

Chris Gourley, Waste and Pollutions Solutions Strategic Lead at Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful comments:

“The judges for this award were thoroughly impressed by the efficiency and thoughtfulness of this project, which not only tackles plastic waste but also addresses the pressing issue of period poverty. The project not only demonstrates concern for the environment but also showcases the council’s commitment to promoting inclusivity and sustainability within the community. By offering free reusable period products, the council have provided a practical solution to reduce single-use plastic waste, helped to break down stigmas, and ensured that all individuals have access to essential products without compromising the environment.”

Plastic pollution is a global concern that poses severe threats to ecosystems, marine wildlife, and human health. By implementing innovative solutions like providing free reusable period products, councils can actively contribute to the reduction of plastic waste and create a cleaner, healthier environment for generations to come.

Belfast City Councillor and Chair of People and Communities Committee, Micky Murray comments “Introducing small positive changes to all aspects of our everyday lives with a focus on tackling environmental issues can have such a positive impact. The amount of plastic within single use period products is staggering. This pilot project is such unique way of addressing an issue that I’m confident not many people knew about. Encouraging the use of reusable, non-plastic period products is helping provide a long-term solution to dealing with plastic contaminating our general waste.

“It’s fantastic to see Belfast City Council recognised for implementing this scheme and leading from the front to normalise the use of reusable period products. I want to congratulate all of our staff for their efforts in making the scheme such a wonderful success.”

Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful opened applications for this award to all Northern Ireland councils, to acknowledge and bolster their commitment to changing behaviours and habits related to single-use plastic consumption.

Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful works closely with local councils to encourage new ways to avoid the proliferation of pointless plastics in our communities and to pursue alternatives that are kinder to our planet. Outlined in our strategic plan is the aim to eliminate single-use plastics in-house in all Councils in Northern Ireland by 2023. All 11 councils have signed up to the Plastic Promise - this is a pledge that councils make to reduce and phase out their use of single use plastics from day-to-day operations. Councils can use the Plastic Promise to focus on eliminating specific plastic items, and they are invited to renew their pledge as they make progress.

Chris Gourley continues, “This project serves as a model for other councils in Northern Ireland facing similar challenges, inspiring them to adopt sustainable practices and behavioural changes. Well done Belfast City Council”.

Mid and East Antrim Borough Council Win Zero Waste Award

Maria McLaughlin    Tue 29 Aug 2023

Council commended for strong commitment to the waste hierarchy, emphasising waste minimisation, reuse, and recycling

Mid and East Antrim Borough Council has been presented with a Zero Waste Award for its work on environmental initiatives that have gone that extra mile for waste management and sustainability in their local area.

The local government award, created by environmental charity Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful, aims to recognise and celebrate the efforts of councils in Northern Ireland in reducing the amount of wasted resources.

Chris Gourley, Waste and Pollutions Solution Lead at Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful comments:

“We were particularly impressed by Mid and East Antrim Borough Council’s collaborative communication efforts with the Waste Resources Action Programme (WRAP), their provision of reuse workshops, and engagement with social enterprises to rethink waste as a valuable resource. Moreover, support for local communities through initiatives such as community fridges, the Christmas Toy Container, School Uniform Scheme, and Cloth Nappy Scheme showcases their dedication to translating education and communication into tangible, on-the-ground actions that make a real difference.

Chris continues, “Winning the Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful Zero Waste Award is a testament to the council’s hard work, innovative thinking, and commitment to sustainable practices. I would like to congratulate Mid and East Antrim Borough Council for all their efforts, which are committed to the ethos of reduce, reuse and recycle. We hope this award will go some way to building further sustainable practices that reduce environmental impact. Thank you to all the councils that submitted schemes. It’s very evident that there is lots of good work going on.”

Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Alderman Gerardine Mulvenna, who received the award on behalf of Mid and East Antrim Borough Council said:

“We are delighted to have achieved such an important ‘Zero Waste’ award 2023 with Tackling Plastic Northern Ireland. Now more than ever, we understand the importance of waste minimisation, re-valuing unavoidable ‘waste’ as a usable resource and to support a circular economy. We will continue to promote this to our residents and stakeholders, to engender behavioural change and to move away from a ‘throw away’ society.”

Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful created the Zero Waste Award in 2022/2023 to reward positive local council contributions to sustainability and to recognise efforts in reducing the amount of wasted resources.

Councils in Northern Ireland have all signed up to the Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful Plastic Promise which recognises that councils are in a position to lead, influence and make change. Each of the 11 Councils have pledged to reduce plastic waste by eliminating avoidable single-use plastics (SUPs) across services, offices, green spaces and events by employing the refuse, reduce, and recycle ethos; switching to alternatives wherever possible.

By achieving a Zero Waste Award, councils are able to celebrate and promote not only their successes, but they also have the opportunity to collaborate and extend their work with more suppliers and likeminded organisations.

Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful, working in partnership with Moy Park, is delighted to announce a new biodiversity recovery project for schools.

The Hedgerow Heroes Project will benefit a total of 33 schools over the next three years, with 11 schools selected to participate each year. Each school will receive 20m of native hedgerow, planted by students during one of three project workshops. Education will be provided on correct hedgerow management, and schools will receive a follow up visit to support their developing hedges.

This project, and others like it, are much needed. Northern Ireland is the 12th worst performing region in the world for biodiversity loss. Native hedgerow plants like hawthorn, blackberry and hazel maximise habitat opportunities and resources for wildlife. Over the course of the coming three years, this project will provide a total of 660m of new hedgerow for Northern Ireland, providing significant opportunities for biodiversity recovery.

Hedgerows also have an important role to play in reaching net zero: the UK Committee on Climate Change has recommended a 40% increase to the UK hedgerow network.

Emma Denton, Biodiversity Recovery Coordinator at Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful said, “We’re pleased to launch this important project in partnership with Moy Park. Northern Ireland’s biodiversity is rapidly declining; urgent action is needed to protect our wildlife for future generations to enjoy. The Hedgerow Heroes project is an exciting opportunity for schools to learn about biodiversity recovery, while also improving their local environment in a practical way.”

Declan Cunningham, Head of Sustainability and Risk at Moy Park said:

“We’re delighted to partner with Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful and schools across NI to improve biodiversity. Hedgerows are vital for providing shelter for wildlife as well as food and foraging opportunities for birds. This initiative is a great way to help children learn more about nurturing healthy habitats in their local environment, and become Hedgerow Heroes.

“At Moy Park our ambition is to reach Net Zero by 2040, and biodiversity plays a key part in our sustainability strategy to make this happen. We have set up biodiversity teams at our sites across the UK, as well as working with schools and community groups to improve biodiversity in our local areas.”

A competition to select participating schools will launch next week- keep an eye on the Eco Schools NI website, www.eco-schoolsni.org , and social media channels for more details.

General improvement undermined by failings in other areas

Northern Ireland was a cleaner place to live last year, a report funded by the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) has found.

The Cleaner Neighbourhoods Report, produced by Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful, surveyed sites across towns, rural roads and recreational areas for litter and other forms of pollution, and rated Northern Ireland’s overall environmental quality at 72% in 2022, a 6% uptick on the previous year’s result.

However, while more parts of the country enjoyed better levels of cleanliness than before, the number of sites that failed to pass acceptable standards saw a slight increase on the previous year, rising from 15% to 16%.

Dr Ian Humphreys, CEO of Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful said:

“It would be fair to characterise the results of our most recent Cleaner Neighbourhoods Report as a mixed picture. It is, of course, positive that we have published our best overall performance since 2017, but it is also clear that we have taken some backwards steps.

“The big picture, however, is that one out of six places that we surveyed did not achieve the basic minimum conditions of a healthy environment that is a fundamental human right. That number is still far too high, and should act as a reminder that a lot more work lies ahead.”

Dave Foster, Director of DAERA’s Natural Environment Policy Division commented; “In Northern Ireland we are very fortunate to have some of the most stunning natural landscapes in the world and it is encouraging this report shows an improvement in our overall environmental quality. However, as highlighted in this report, there is always room for further progress especially in regards to cigarette and takeaway litter. It is important we realise we all have an ongoing responsibility to protect and care for our environment and that we need to work towards achieving a clean, healthy space for everyone.”

Other areas of concern identified by the report include a spike in the presence of cigarette litter across the land from 65% to 78%. Takeaway litter also soared in prevalence by 117%, while dog fouling continued its descent in the opposite direction, falling from 6% to 2%.

As with other years, the publication made local-council data available for street-cleansing costs and the number of fixed penalty notices (FPNs) issued. There was an average of 1,203 littering and 34 dog-fouling fines handed out across local-government areas, with Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council serving the highest number of FPNs on both counts. The annual clean-up bill was estimated at £30,961,701, working out at £41.57 per ratepayer.

Surveys for the Cleaner Neighbourhoods Report were completed between July to September 2022.

Outside of inspecting transects for litter, all surveys conducted assessments to determine levels of graffiti, staining, detritus and flyposting. Each site was assigned a grade ranging from A to D and a cleanliness score that was used to calculate the overall environmental-quality percentage for Northern Ireland.

To read the Cleaner Neighbourhoods Report, visit www.keepnorthernirelandbeautiful.org/cleaner-neighbourhoods-report.

There are an estimated 11,983,664 items of litter polluting Northern Ireland at all times, according to the findings within a local report funded by the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA).

Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful has revealed the figure in its Litter Composition Analysis Report 2022-23, following surveys of 1,100 rural and urban roads across all local council areas between November 2022 and February 2023.

Analysing all forms of litter including drinks containers, dog fouling and confectionery packaging, the report establishes that producers from the soft drinks, chocolate and chewing gum industries command 64 per cent of all branded litter found around the province. It has also been identified that Coca-Cola HBC Ltd, Red Bull GmbH, Mondelez Europe, and AG Barr products make up 50 per cent of the branded litter problem, and that 54 per cent of the total litter recorded is made from plastic.

Vaping products have emerged as almost two per cent of the litter problem, placing them on a par with perennial litter offenders like coffee cups and food waste. And cigarette-butts remain a significant threat to the environment, with a predicted 1,194,692 butts scattered throughout communities in Northern Ireland, accounting for ten per cent of the overall litter slice.

Chris Gourley, Waste and Pollution Solutions Strategic Lead at Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful said: “Our report highlights that Northern Ireland has a severe litter problem. Understanding the composition of litter is a sensible step in putting forward credible solutions.

“It is particularly concerning that most of the litter recorded was single use plastic, but this does help to highlight how crucial it is for Northern Ireland to move towards a circular economy in which the life cycle of products is extended as far as possible, resulting in less waste in circulation. Whilst we recognise that legislative change is on the way, including Extended Producer Responsibility beginning from next year, and a Deposit Return Scheme from 2025, more needs to be done to educate, engage and empower. We strongly believe that with continued collaboration and contribution from producers, policymakers, politicians and the public, we can deliver change.”

Lesley Roberts, Head of Waste Prevention Policy at DAERA said: “DAERA remains committed to tackling the problem of littering and will continue to work with stakeholders to advance our anti-litter agenda. DAERA uses a combined approach of legislation, education, awareness and enforcement to tackle littering, and provide funding to support programmes which challenge litter-habits directly as well as changing attitudes and behaviours towards litter.

In December 2022, the Department successfully implemented new legislation which gave local Councils discretionary powers to increase the maximum fixed penalty notice fine from £80 to £200 for litter and dog fouling offences in their council area.”

The Litter Composition Analysis Report 2022-23 is the second litter producer-focused study published by Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful, following a similar Litter Composition Producer Report released by the charity in 2021. Both reports are part of a wider project funded by DAERA to address the production, consumption and littering of single-use plastic in Northern Ireland.

To read the Litter Composition Analysis Report 2022-23 in full, visit www.keepnorthernirelandbeautiful.org/litter-composition-reports.

Kilcooley Primary School is the first in Northern Ireland to complete a brand-new education programme: Climate CALM. The distinctive course encourages primary school pupils to explore the climate crisis in a way that promotes positive mental health.

The much-needed programme was developed by environmental charity Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful, in partnership with educational publisher, Twinkl. The resource, which is free to access, is funded by the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs. (DAERA)

Eco or climate anxiety is an increasingly common phenomenon. A global survey of 10,000 16-25 year olds found that 59% of respondents felt extremely or very worried about climate change, and over 45% said their feelings about climate change negatively affected their daily life and functioning.[1]

The Climate CALM programme, provides the opportunity for younger pupils, aged 7-11, to explore the challenging theme of climate change through a framework designed to minimise eco-anxiety. The framework is informed by the NHS ways of wellbeing which include ‘connecting’, ‘being present’, ‘being active’, ‘learning’ and ‘giving’.

Lynne Johnston, a teacher at Kilcooley Primary School said, ““The children really enjoyed learning about climate change and discussing how they can make a positive difference. We really liked how the 'Ways to Wellbeing' were incorporated into each lesson”.

The Climate CALM programme is free to access via the Twinkl website. Teachers interested in delivering the programme can also avail of free Carbon Literacy training, funded by DAERA and delivered by Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful. This training equips teachers with the knowledge to feel confident exploring climate change in the classroom with pupils across the age range.

Scott Howes, Climate Action lead at Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful says, “We’re delighted to have received such a positive response to the Climate CALM programme so far. It is vital that any teaching on climate change addresses climate anxiety. This framework of learning encourages and empowers pupils to be active in creating a positive climate future.”

Rachel Gamble, Country Manager of Twinkl Northern Ireland, says, "We are delighted to be a part of the development of the Climate CALM resources. The interactive lessons are perfect for educating children about the importance of looking after our planet, while also nurturing their own wellbeing. We have seen a strong interest in the programme already and hope that many more teachers and pupils will make use of this excellent resource."

John Early from the Department of Agriculture Environment and Rurals Affairs commented “The Department is pleased to have been able to support the development of the Climate CALM materials for Primary Schools”.

He added “As we move to a low carbon society it is essential that we engage children in climate change discussions, from an early age, so they can begin to understand how the everyday decisions we make can impact upon their own personal carbon footprint and the positive changes they can make. It was great to hear the feedback from the children who have completed the course”.

For more information on Climate CALM, including a link to access the materials, visit: www.keepnorthernirelandbeautiful.org/c-calm

Notes to editors:

For further information, or interview requests contact Claire.irwin@keepnorthernirelandbeautiful.org

About Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful

Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful is a charity working towards the vision of a world where people and nature thrive, by running environmental-education programmes and awareness-raising campaigns, increasing volunteering opportunities and reporting on local environmental quality. Programmes include the national civic-pride campaign Live Here Love Here, Tackling Plastic NI, Tackling Textiles, Carbon Literacy training, and local environmental quality programmes, such as Eco-Schools NI, Blue Flag Award, Seaside Award, Green Flag Award, Cleaner Neighbourhoods and Marine Litter surveys. For more information, visit www.keepnorthernirelandbeautiful.org.

Fill Your Bottle, Not A Landfill!

Maria McLaughlin    Wed 14 Jun 2023

Public encouraged to use their free local water refill station

Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful along with the 11 Northern Ireland Councils are supporting World Refill Day on Friday 16th June – a global day of action to prevent plastic pollution and help people live with less waste.

The environmental charity and local councils are asking the public – to refill, reuse and reduce when it comes to single-use plastic bottles and to make use of over 300 refill stations available across Northern Ireland.

Chris Gourley, Waste and Pollution Solutions Strategic Lead, at Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful comments, “We want to encourage people here in Northern Ireland to join millions of people around the world to prevent plastic pollution. Friday 16th June is a day to make the change to live more sustainably and become more environmentally aware. Water refill stations are an easy way to start making a difference. Everyone can start right away – all you need is a reusable water bottle, which makes it easier to stay hydrated whilst not having the expense of buying single-use plastic bottled water. It’s a practical, environmentally friendly solution.”

Water-refill stations are available across council facilities, including parks, leisure centres, community centres as well as shops, businesses and the high street, ensuring that members of the public are never far away from access to free water on the go.

Although there are different types of water refill points available across Northern Ireland, all stations are designed to serve the ultimate purpose of helping to reduce plastic pollution and provide the public with free drinking water.

Chris Gourley continues, “The average person in the UK now uses around 150 plastic water bottles a year! Many of these are single-use, which are then discarded and end up polluting our environment or clogging up landfills. So the message is simple refill, reuse and reduce, and get involved in the campaign by:

1. Carrying your own water bottle;

2. Filling up for free; and

3. Spreading the word about refill stations.”

At present, Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful and councils are working together to recognise the importance of a convenient water refill network and to improve the information available to the public.

So when out and about, look out for refill stations around the country and become familiar with the locations. We can all do our bit for the environment. We urgently need to shift from our disposable, single-use culture to a more sustainable, circular future, with reuse and refill at the centre.

Many councils will be able to signpost you to the refill stations in your area. Contact your local council for more details.

Five council areas rewarded for excellent environmental management

The local winners of the international Blue Flag Award and the UK-wide Seaside Award have been revealed for 2023. 

Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful announced that 18 beaches and marinas at home earned the prestigious Blue Flag Award distinction after reaching world-class standards in criteria that includes water quality, safety, accessibility, cleanliness and environmental education.

A further nine beaches received Seaside Awards, the UK’s mark of quality that ensures visitors are guaranteed to find a clean, safe, attractive and well-managed coastal stretch. Seven Seaside Award sites returned excellent water-quality results, while two more rated as good, the second highest classification in this area.

The benchmarks for blue spaces were shared across councils, with Causeway Coast and Glens claiming 12 awards and Mid and East Antrim landing three Blue Flags and three Seaside Awards. 

There were also five flags for aquatic spots in Ards and North Down, and three wins for beaches in Newry, Mourne and Down. Ballyronan Marina in Mid Ulster retained its Blue Flag status for the 14th consecutive year.

Dr Ian Humphreys, CEO of Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful said:

"We are extremely pleased that 27 beaches and marinas have achieved either a Blue Flag Award or Seaside Award. Each flag is a symbol that these special places are managed to an excellent standard and an important trust signal to the public that they can expect a high-quality experience when they visit one of these award-winning sites.

"At a time when budgets are tight and difficult decisions are never far away, we want to thank councils and other organisations for continuing to invest in our beaches and marinas that are much loved and valued by tourists and people at home alike."

Owen Lyttle, DAERA’s Director of Marine and Fisheries said “We are delighted to see so many beaches and marinas awarded for their excellent environmental management. The assessment of water quality is a core component of these Awards and highlights that Northern Ireland continues to have some of the cleanest beaches and marinas in the world. We will keep working with all those who help to manage these valuable blue spaces to ensure that Northern Ireland continues to have beaches and marinas we can be proud of.”

Beach and marina operators and Mayors from across councils were invited to collect the awards at a presentation ceremony in The Arcadia, Portrush on 25 May. The occasion was organised by Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful, who manage the accreditations locally. 

The award-winning locations will now have their respective flags in place for the duration of the Northern Ireland bathing season, which runs from 01 June to 15 September.

To see the full list of Blue Flag Award and Seaside Award winners, visit www.keepnorthernirelandbeautiful.org


Notes for editors

1. Blue Flag Beach Award winners – Benone Beach, Castlerock Beach, Cranfield Bay, Downhill Beach, Murlough Beach, Portrush East Strand Beach, Portrush West Strand Beach, Tyrella Beach, Whiterocks Beach.

2. Blue Flag Marina Award winners – Blue Flag Award Marinas winners – Ballycastle Marina, Ballyronan Marina, Bangor Marina, Carrickfergus Marina, Coleraine Marina, Glenarm Marina, Portglenone Marina, Portrush Harbour and Marina, Rathlin Marina.

3. Seaside Award winners – Ballycastle Beach, Ballygally Beach, Ballywalter South Beach, Brown's Bay Beach, Carnlough Beach, Cloughey Beach, Groomsport Beach, Millisle Beach, Waterfoot Beach.

4. Northern Ireland’s bathing water quality is monitored by DAERA Marine and Fisheries Division during the bathing season. The bathing season runs from 01 June through to 15 September, during which time water quality is assessed on 20 different occasions at each location.

5. Bathing water is monitored at 26 sites in Northern Ireland, with results classified as excellent, good, sufficient or poor.

6. In 2023, 18 out of 26 bathing-water sites received either a Blue Flag Award or Seaside Award

7. Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful is a charity working towards the vision of a world where people and nature thrive, by running environmental-education programmes and awareness-raising campaigns, increasing volunteering opportunities and reporting on local environmental quality. Programmes include the national civic-pride campaign Live Here Love Here, Tackling Plastic NI, Tackling Textiles, Carbon Literacy training, and local environmental quality programmes, such as Eco-Schools NI, Blue Flag Award, Seaside Award, Green Flag Award, Cleaner Neighbourhoods and Marine Litter surveys. For more information, visit www.keepnorthernirelandbeautiful.org.

For further information about the Blue Flag Award and Seaside Award, please contact Claire Irwin at claire.irwin@keepnorthernirelandbeautiful.org