Protecting Our Coastline
Our beaches and seas should be treasured by our communities. CleanCoasts.org engages communities in the protection of Ireland’s beaches, seas and marine life. The programme is operated by the Environmental Education Unit of An Taisce and is currently funded by the Department of the Housing, Planning, Community & Local Government and Fáilte Ireland. Clean Coasts is made up of two main elements - Clean Coasts Volunteering and the Green Coast Award.
The main sources of marine litter are:
- Litter dropped in towns and cities
- Overflowing litter bins
- Litter dropped at the beach
- Poorly managed industrial waste discharges
- Lost shipping containers
- Lost/discharged fishing gear
- Recreational litter blown by the wind
- Poorly managed landfill sites
- Microbeads from personal care products
- Sewage related litter
The #2minutebeachclean campaign promoted by CleanCoasts.org is an easy way for us all to play a part in reducing the scourge of litter and keeping our coasts clean. All the better if we can involve others - friends, family, neighbours - as shown by the CleanCosts community in Spanish Point, Co Clare:
Then those of you who brave the waters can enjoy the very many Benefits of sea swimming (CarePlus Pharmacy):
• Seawater is rich in vitamins and minerals such as magnesium, sodium, calcium, chloride and sulphate that work as natural cosmetics for our skin. Those with issues such as psoriasis and eczema may see particular benefit. The magnesium in seawater also lowers cortisol levels in the body, calming the nervous system and reducing the likelihood of stress-induced skin breakouts.
• By immersing yourself both in nature and the cold water, you will naturally encounter more germs. This is not necessarily a bad thing, provided you have got your flu vaccine and make sure to warm up quickly after getting out. Regular dips in cold water helps regulate your antioxidant processes in the body, helping to reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer.
• Trace elements and micro-organisms found in seawater also have anti-bacterial properties and can therefore act as natural antibiotics. These components are absorbed by the skin, helping to enhance the body’s health & well-being.
Mental Health & Well-Being
• Probably the main benefit of sea-swimming is to do with mental health.
• Hydrotherapy – typically known to help people with chronic joint pain and arthritis – has also been known to reduce levels of anxiety and depression. Studies have also shown that water therapy helps increase the production of beta-endorphins (the ‘feel good’ molecules). Research has shown that those consistently swim have made less frequent visits to a mental health professional
• Immersing yourself in deep, cold water shocks the body and makes you think about only what you are doing in that moment. For this reason, it is the ultimate form of mindfulness and almost like a calming meditation, as you only have the space to focus on your breath. The breathing control involved in swimming in fact slows down the mind and body and reduces stress.
• A study commissioned by Swim England to coincide with 'World Mental Health Day' found that when queried about the impact swimming has on their day-to-day life, 43% of people who swim regularly said it makes them feel happier, 26% are more motivated to complete daily tasks while 15% believe life feels more manageable.
• Time spent in nature proven to reduce stress levels as well as your risk of developing depression and other mental illnesses, so taking your swimming to the sea instead of an indoor pool is a great way to help both your body and mind.
• Rich in magnesium, seawater can also relax your muscles and promote deep sleep.
• As sea water is salty, this is beneficial for those with sinus issues, providing relief by opening up the area with an all-natural saline solution. This helps the cilia to move mucus, clearing sinuses.
• There are two different types of fat in the body – brown and white fat. We mostly hold on to the white fat, however studies have shown that the less common brown fat can be activated by cold water. Not only does brown fat keep you warm, but as its job to raise body temperature it also quickly burns through calories and will also help you shed excess weight.
Cold Water Therapy
• Builds mental strength – immersing yourself in cold water on a regular basis produces a positive pain-like effect that provides benefits to your body and mind.
• Reduces muscle pain – cold water and bathing in ice have long been linked with helping to reduce inflammation and speed up muscle recovery.
• Increases blood flow and circulation – nutrients and skin significant hormones can quickly travel to the surface resulting in a lit-from-within glow.