Team members from Black Shamrock posing excitedly for a photo before cleaning the beach

12 million metric tons – it probably is nothing more than a number to you at first glance, but what if you were told that this is the amount of plastic that we dump into the oceans globally each year? This is equivalent to more than 100,000 blue whales, and by 2050, ocean plastics are expected to outweigh all of the ocean’s fish. 

To play our part in protecting the environment, in line with our CSR pillar, Black Shamrock – a Virtuos Studio organized a beach clean-up activity at Sandymount Strand, Dublin on 15 September 2022. We were joined by marine experts from Flossie and The Beach Cleaners, a registered marine environmental charity and group of marine enthusiasts, for this session.  

The marine experts from Flossie and The Beach Cleaners shared tips on preventing oceanic pollution

Before we set off to get our hands dirty, Flossie and The Beach Cleaners walked us through the common causes of marine pollution, ways to prevent it, and what microplastics are. An interesting fact we learnt was that microplastics can be broken into even smaller pieces by sun exposure and wave action. When they fully degrade, which can take hundreds of years for a single plastic soda bottle, the process releases chemicals that further contaminate the sea. We’ll leave it up to your imagination to think about what happens when the fish we consume have already ingested plastic debris. 

After learning about microplastics and its harmful effects to both the environment and our health, we set off to clean up the beach with a new sense of determination.  

 A morning spent on cleaning up the beach

While we thought that we were prepared for what lay ahead for the day, after hearing the marine pollution facts presented during the marine expert briefing, we were still shocked by the amount of trash picked up in just one morning’s clean-up. Together, 20 of us collected 88 pounds of trash ranging from dirty wipes to over 50-year-old plastic bottles. 

Having gone through a productive morning of beach clean-up, we understand that a one-off clean-up isn’t enough to cause long-term benefit to the environment. Believing in the importance of education in environmental sustainability, we have contributed funding to Flossie and The Beach Cleaners to help them run more workshops and talks with schools and businesses on the concrete ways to protect our marine environments. With positivity and focused action, we hope to continue making a difference, and hopefully, leave a cleaner environment for future generations to come.