Our treasure trove of nature, Booterstown Marsh underwent its annual Spring Clean last month. For a suburban marsh we were glad to see there had been no major fly tipping or dumping which has blighted this treasure trove of nature in the past. Nevertheless, an afternoon at the job and with a troupe of nearly 20 volunteers we gave the marsh a good tidy up. Between the clean-ups in October and April some 50 bags of rubbish were removed from the marsh, protecting the many birds that live there from harm and improving its appearance. Many thanks to all volunteers who came out and got stuck in. It was a fantastic event followed by enjoyable chat over a nice and deserved cup of tea.

If there was one thing in particular that was very noticeable on the day it was the extraordinary amount of plastic in the scumline on the reserve - where debris from the sea gathers with the flow and ebb of the tide. From plastic bottles, straws and cottonbuds right down to microplastics, amongst the natural dead vegetation there were literally thousands of bits of plastic - too much to remove in one day, though valiantly, we did try. These bits and pieces which enter our oceans via storm drains, toilets, windblow and from ships have a devastating effect on marine life. Birds like fulmar and albatross starve with bellies full of plastic, while we ourselves can ingest and 'bioaccumulate' plastic in our bodies by eating fish. An Taisce's Clean Coasts team is dedicated to fighting this massive issue which undermines Ireland's seas, beaches and nature.