Eco education centre raising awareness at Hook Lighthouse
'Save Our Seas' is the theme of a new education centre located at Hook Lighthouse, one of the region's most popular visitor attractions.
Last year more than 220,000 people travelled to Hook Lighthouse, with 50,000 buying tickets for the visitor centre and everyone else enjoying the amenities around the centuries-old facility which is leading the way in promoting clean living along our spectacular coast.
Now, along with the lighthouse itself, the gardens and yard, maritime centre, outdoor play areas, café, and rugged coastline, a new Eco Education Centre is open to the public.
The official launch took place recently, coinciding with World Lighthouse Day. With sea shanties and pirate games for children, the centre was launched in dramatic fashion. The eco centre has already been getting an enthusiastic reaction from visitors, young and old.
Lighthouse manager Ann Waters said that many of the 15 staff at the centre already live their lives by trying to 'leave no trace', both at home and work, and doing all they can to raise awareness of the impact of climate change, and now they want to bring that knowledge to the public. 'It is time for critical action around climate change,' she said. 'There is small movement and certainly more awareness around ecological living, but more than radical change is needed.'
A strong element of the eco-station is the need to reduce the amount of plastic being used - and dumped - and Ms Waters points out that, of the 9.1 billion tonnes of plastic produced worldwide since 1950, close to 7 billion tonnes are no longer in use.
Just 9 per cent was recycled, 12 per cent incinerated, and the rest left in our oceans and on our land. 'There really is only one solution, use zero to as little plastic as you possibly can,' she said.
Hook Lighthouse's own sustainability strategy, in place since 2012, focuses on waste and energy reduction and with this in mind they have banned plastic containers while the glass bottles used for drinks are crushed, when empty, and then used for walkways in the garden and other purposes around the site.
Most suppliers to the café are local while anything that can be recycled, is recycled.
The new eco centre has been part funded by a grant from Bord Iascaigh Mhara's FLAG project, which uses grants to promote coastal community schemes around the country.