Ep 25: We’re out of the Studio for a Beach Clean!



Today’s show is very special because for the very first time we get to leave the studio and go out and about as we join last weeks guest, 14year old Flossie Donnelly for a real-life beach clean!

We loved chatting with Flossie about the work she does to fight plastic pollution in our seas and rivers with her incredible charity, ‘Flossie and the Beach Cleaners’!

So we wanted to go out and do a beach clean with her to see first hand how bad the plastic pollution is on our beaches and to learn what we can do….AND have some fun along the way!

Buster and Buddy got very competitive during the beach clean as they tried to fill their bag with the most plastic rubbish….while Michelle had a go at a simple but brilliant science experiment showing the stark reality of how much microplastic is in the sand on our beaches!

Listen in and join us on the beach!


Michelle and her team have a collective 50years experience working with kids as teachers, entertainers and parents!

Thanks to Zapsplat, Audio Jungle and Alexander Korotkoff for the sound effects and music.

Check out our social media to see more about the team, our guests, the topics we talk about, our competitions AND how to send us in your stories, jokes, comments or ideas for the podcast!

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Flossie Donnelly

Flossie Donnelly is a secondary school student and an enthusiastic and engaged climate activist. Her passion is the sea and protecting the marine environment works to reduce the plastic pollution in our seas.

She has been dubbed ‘Ireland’s Greta Thunberg.’

Her activism first began on a family trip to Thailand when she was eight years old. Whilst on holidays she was taken aback by the amount of plastic pollution she observed on the beaches she visited and when swimming in the sea. She spent a considerable amount of time on that trip collecting rubbish from the sea and bringing it back to the hotel where her family were staying. On her return to Ireland, she noticed more and more rubbish being washed up on local beaches and knew she had to share her passion around protecting marine life and to educate others about plastic pollution.

She set up her environmental charity ‘Flossie and the Beach Cleaners’ when she was 11years old, organising beach clean-ups in Dunlaoire and Sandycove near her home. However, recently she has expanded the charity and now has over 7 Flossie and the Beach Cleaner groups dotted around Ireland!

Flossie regularly engages in climate strikes either outside her school or the Dáil.

She is the first person to have brought seabins into Ireland after raising €4,000 for the two binns herself. These devices can remove up to 83,000 plastic bags or 20,000 plastic bottles from the sea in one year!

Her work also expands internationally, having connected with villages and plastic charities in Indonesia to help them fight against their plastic pollution problem which is so bad, they suffer with plastic rivers.

She remains positive that if we work together we can alleviate many of our environmental challenges and problems.



Michelle Connolly 0:10

Hello, and welcome to The Kids Are All Right, a podcast specially for kids. That's all about health, happiness and wellness. I'm Michelle, and this summer we're looking into how we can help look after our planet. So join us this summer as we discover, learn and have loads of fun along the way. And as usual helping me on this summer project is of course you know them well. My co presenters Buster and Buddy.

Buster 0:33

Hey guys

Buddy 0:35

Hey everyone, buddy again. S

Michelle Connolly 0:36

So are we ready to get this sort of project on the road?

Buster 0:39

Oh, yeah, let's go!

Michelle Connolly 0:46

Hello, and welcome to the seaside town of Killiney in Dublin, Ireland on this beautiful, but windy summer's day. This is The Kids Are All Right! podcast and with me today are of course Buster and Buddy!

Buddy 0:57

Hey, guys, and I'm s o excited.

Michelle Connolly 1:04

As today after talking on our show with teenager Flossie Donnelly recently about the problem of plastic pollution in our rivers and seas. We really wants to join her on one of our fantastic beach cleans.

Buster 1:14

This is brilliant guys, it's so exciting to get out of the studio and be out and about to see exactly what we can do to fight against plastic pollution on our beaches and in our seas.

Buddy 1:26

Yeah, it's really cool to be actually on the beach. And we're gonna be joining up at some of the other kids and parents who volunteer with Flossie's amazing charity, which is called....

Buster 1:35

Flossie and the Beach Cleaners!!. What a brilliant name for her environmental charity.

Unknown Speaker 1:41

Yeah, she's brilliant alright and today is even more special cos guess what....today's beach clean will also include one of her workshops, where she teaches kids about what plastic pollution is doing to our environments and marine life.

Buster 1:54

All Yeah, cuz she told us on the podcast that little kids learn best from big kids. Oh, yeah.

Unknown Speaker 2:00

That's a brilliant way to teach kids, but you know, but you know, today is not all about teaching. From what she's told me there's loads of fun stuff too.. quizzes and science experiments. And even an competition.!

Buster 2:11

Oh, wow, this sounds so cool. I can't wait. Oh, what will we do first?

Unknown Speaker 2:16

Well I think first lads, how about we go down the beach and say hi to Flossie and her mom Harriers who run the charity together. And maybe they can tell us a little more about what we're gonna do. Oh, yeah.

Michelle Connolly 2:34

It's great to actually have made it out on the beach with you, It was lovely talking to you we'rereally excited to come down. So thanks for inviting us down today

Flossie Donnelly 2:41

Hi Welcome to the beach clean.

And so you've got your mom Harriet here with you as well as she wants to charity with you. Hi Harriet.

Harriet Donnelly 2:47

Hi, thanks for having us here

Michelle Connolly 2:51

Harriet you must be a very proud Mum. Tell us a little about your charity Flossie and the Beach Cleaners.

Buddy 2:59

Yes, I'm really proud, ma'am. Flossie has created so much. And she has such, I'm delighted to see such an amazing following for what she does. And as a charity due to Flossie's vision, what we do is we educate we do obviously do all our beach cleans, but we try and encourage lots of kids to come down because this is their planet and the and it needs to be saved. And we like to do it in a really positive happy way. And a beach clean is like a treasure chest so you never know what you're going to find. And the other side of the charity is that we educate with our junior school workshops. And we literally let kids see what they can find on a beach clean. And then we give them a plastic pollution chat and show them what we found leading on to a really nice recycling quiz. And always a little stress free climate change chat, because we like to believe that, you know, that's a positive thing to save the planet. And then we also are connected to the other side of the world to Indonesia, where we work with different conservation trusts over there, where plastic pollution is a whole different world compared to what we deal with.

Unknown Speaker 3:54

And we're gonna be hearing so much more about this. We're going to be taking part in these activities today, and we're really excited. So let's see, what is the first thing we're going to be doing today?

Flossie Donnelly 4:02

Well we're going to start off with a fun beach clean.

Unknown Speaker 4:05

Okay, what does that involve? I think Buster is looking a bit worried there?

Buster 4:09

Yeah. Why exactly do I have to do?!

Flossie Donnelly 4:12

Well give you the gloves and the bag and then just try to look for anything plastic that is rubbish. And that we know the marine life you know, won't want in their mouths.

Michelle Connolly 4:20

Okay so are we ready to go then guys...Buddy?.

Buddy 4:22

Oh, yeah, I am raring to go.

Buster 4:24

Yeah, get the gloves get the gloves.

Michelle Connolly 4:26

Okay, Let's go. Okay, let's go.

Flossie Donnelly 4:33

Here's your gloves and try not to pick up anything too sharp unless you have an adult with you.

Buddy 4:41

Ooooh, Bright orange. I love the colour orange.

Harriet Donnelly 4:44

Okay, guys, are we ready?

Buddy 4:48

Okay, Michelle, I am so excited. We're all going to split now to different groups. Flossie is going one way. Buster going this way and I'm gonna go this way. It's gonna be so much fun. Let's see who can collect the most.

Unknown Speaker 4:58

All right. You hold this bag and I'll hold this one...Okay, Let's go.

Buddy 5:03

Oh wait wait, I think I see these over there. Oh, plastic bottles, Mine, mine, mine!

Flossie Donnelly 5:07

Oooh traffic codn mine!!

Buddy 5:11

A traffic cone!! What's a traffic cone doing on the beach.??

Flossie Donnelly 5:14

Well it can fly in from the wind or cars can knock it off the road or teenagers just tried to have a little bit too much fun and throw it into the water. There's loads of sea life and shells growing off it and seaweed inside it, which means it has been in the sea for a good while.

Michelle Connolly 5:26

Wow. And so why would that be a problem for some fish and marine life? Whats the problem?

Unknown Speaker 5:32

Well, other than bits of microplastic falling off it over the years. And like if it did somehow end up in a whale's mouth, then it would choke and die, which is very sad.

Unknown Speaker 5:41

Is this one of the biggest things you've collected?

Flossie Donnelly 5:43

Uh, yeah, I'd say so definitely be on the list

Michelle Connolly 5:45

You would have to find the biggest piece of plastic big traffic calm first, and I have to carry that the whole way around with you.

Flossie Donnelly 5:52

Well it means our bag is full. And it means that all the other teams know th at we are all the best beach cleaners as we have the bigg mer bag.

Michelle Connolly 5:59

Oh does it get all competitive does it??!

Unknown Speaker 6:01

Well, I'm a competitive person along with the rest of my family. So you have to make everything a competition to make it fun.

Unknown Speaker 6:07

Very good. Your mom's speeding on ahead there. I can see her with Buddy. I think she's got the competitive spirit as well.

Flossie Donnelly 6:14

Yeah, But she but she has a tiny bag.

Michelle Connolly 6:16

So What are you reaching for there Flossie?

Flossie Donnelly 6:21

I'm just grabbing a plastic label from a shop.

Michelle Connolly 6:27

More pieces of plastic....wow, there are so many small pieces of plastic everywhere. I'd never seen those before.

Flossie Donnelly 6:33

Yeah, it's like a big problem if they get into the sea, fish can for example if they're like chewing on seaweed or something, and they can choke on the plastic, that's why we try to pick up as many things as we can.

One of the other problems is um, fish eat the plastic and then we eat the fish. So we're basically consuming plastic.

Unknown Speaker 6:50

Then we're basically feeding the plastic back to ourselves that we throw away!

Flossie Donnelly 6:54

Exactly. Yeah.But you just have to try to remember if you can clean the beaches. Hopefully your fish fingers are fine.

Unknown Speaker 7:05

Brilliant. Okay, guys, so that was quite competitive between Flossie and her mom and Buster and Buddy. So I tell you guys, how did you find that?

Buddy 7:13

I didn't realise how much stuff you can find on one beach clean. Michelle. I am exhausted but it was o worth it!

Michelle Connolly 7:20

Very good and Buster?

Unknown Speaker 7:22

Yeah, but I think my bag is way bigger than Buddys!

Unknown Speaker 7:25

I think Flossie might have beaten everyone actually to be honest. So listen, I think now we're going to sit down Harriet and Flossie you're going to go through what we found. And we're going to have a chat about why we've actually picked them up today.

Buster 7:38

Okay, guys, so let's see what you found. Anyone found some weird things anyone find anything strange. Oh, I found this big metal plate yoke, look look!

Buddy 7:50

. That's great. That looks like is a piece of rusty bit of fishing boat thats came off and the fishermen tend to just throw a lot of their stuff. They just throw it overboard and looks like it broke off and washed up.

Oh, hey, I found a balloon.

Harriet Donnelly 8:06

Oh, wow. balloons are really really dangerous. We really would love for balloons never to be found in the sea or near the sea because they do so much damage to the marine life if they swallow and they sit in their tummy and they make the marine life seals and dolphins and whales very very sick. So well done. Yes, Eva, what did you find?

Unknown Speaker 8:25

beer bottles and wine cans and loads of plastic bottles. ,

Unknown Speaker 8:30

Great well that's really good. Because the thing is that we need to get the plastic bottles out of the sea because they take 450 years and sometimes longer to disintegrate.

Buddy 8:38

Wow, that is such a long time. 400 years

Unknown Speaker 8:43

450 years seems like an incredible amount of time for a water bottle that maybe we'll use for half an hour an hour.

Unknown Speaker 8:51

Yeah, no, it's a it's a terrible thing that we go and buy something we spend over a Euro on something we can actually turn the tap on and refill our own little refillable water bottles and someone goes and spends over a euro for a plastic bottle full of water.

Unknown Speaker 9:04

What about those bottles for life? You know, the tin bottles that people are using? Are those a good idea Flossie?

Flossie Donnelly 9:09

Yea metal bottles are a lot better. Yeah, cuz they're reusable, when you drink them, no microplastics breaks off and goes into you. And they're a lot better and they can keep your drinks a lot colder.

Unknown Speaker 9:18

Super. So did anybody else find anything interesting? Harriet, what's that that Jackson's found?

Harriet Donnelly 9:24

this this is actually a piece of like material that has I'm just trying to pull it apart. Yeah, it's like heavy...it could even be felt but it's been in there for so long. That seaweed has literally mulched itslef into it and made it its home which is a real disaster. So so this is really important to get it out because it breaks into microfibers. And again just do so much damage because it goes into a fish's mouth when it breaks up and then the fish get caught. And when we eat the fish it means we're eating this which is lovely!! .

Buddy 9:51

Eugh, yuck, that's horrible to think about. Yuck!

Unknown Speaker 9:55

Eh I just want to say my group, definitely won with the coolest objects. Our group managed to find a really old traffic cone which has been in the sea for so long, all the orange paint on it is gone. And it's on the inside of it. It's covered in loads of seaweed that is growing off and along with loads other little shells.

Unknown Speaker:

It's quite incredible what's been found. Anybody else any other last minute things, something different that was found anyone at all.

Harriet Donnelly:

We got big old rusty pipes that have been swimming around in the sea for ages. And they're really rusty. And they've come from a fishing boat again. So they've just lots of bits of boat that washed up on all beaches. So we're not great, but good to get out of the sea, so always a good find.

Unknown Speaker:

Fantastic. It's great to learn so much about that. So actually, we're going to do a little experiment now. Is that right?

Harriet Donnelly:

Yeah. Now what we're going to do is we're going to, it's really important, people don't realise exactly what microplastic is. So micro plastic is smaller than five millimetres, so it's smaller than your little fingernail. So quite often, what we do is very simple science experiment, we come down, we have a sieve, and we just take a , we just literally fill the sieve with sand, shake it and see what comes out and you will find something that's you can barely see. And that is microplastic. And the whole all the beaches are made of it, unfortunately,

Michelle Connolly:

wow. Okay, I'll let you get started there.

Harriet Donnelly:

So that tiny piece, just that you can see that is micro plastic.

Michelle Connolly:

Wow, it's tiny.

Harriet Donnelly:

Yeah, that's the thing you get, everything gets mistaken for little bits of sand. But it actually sticks out because it's one tiny, tiny piece and it's sharp and jagged. And it's plastic. And there's even a tiny bit of metal there as well.

Unknown Speaker:

So you can tell that because it's sharp and jagged as opposed to the rock, which is smoother.

Harriet Donnelly:

And it's just a different it's a different material. You can tell by the look of it. It's a different material as well.


I've got to be honest, that looks like a pebble. Yeah.

Unknown Speaker:

Wow, Flossie I mean, this is that's quite a simple experiment, isn't it? But it's quite shocking. That's just one single scoop from the beach.

Unknown Speaker:

Well, yeah, it's impossible to be able to pick up microplastic with your fingers and just like walk around and see it. So having a sieve is the easiest way to do it. And it really does open up people's eyes of how small it is and how it is a big problem. And it's right, if we do not pick up the big pieces of plastic, this is what it becomes.

Unknown Speaker:

So bit by bit, the large piece of plastic, like some of the stuff you've got in your sacks today, eventually over time does wear down, wear down, erodes down into these little pieces, and they're just, we're sitting on them on our beaches.

Harriet Donnelly:

Yeah, no, we're sitting on them and our beaches. And also I mean, you know, a lot of this goes straight into our water and we drink them as well, which is never nice. But that unfortunately is a reality.


Yeah, I have to say those it's a neat little experiment

Harriet Donnelly:

We are always looking for new, really good new experiments we can do on the beach. So this was one we read about and we were dying to go and try it out ourselves. And as it happens, it's like it's so quick and so simple and so interesting, you know,as a reality of what you can find.

Unknown Speaker:

Oh yeah, but it looks like so much fun. So the next time I'm going to the beach with my mom or my dad or anyone instead of bringing my shovel on my spade. I'm gonna bring mom's sieve!!

Unknown Speaker:

Well, yeah. Haha, that was so much fun. What's next Michelle? What do we get to do next?

Unknown Speaker:

What Buster, it's up to Harriet and Flossie to tell us what comes next after you've collected all this incredible stuff in the beach.

Harriet Donnelly:

Well, now we're gonna weight it and see what our massive amount we've managed to stop from getting back into the sea and harming our marine life.

Michelle Connolly:

Right? Okay, lead the way.

Harriet Donnelly:

Alright guys, come over here and let's try see how much we have.

Michelle Connolly:

Okay, so everybody is bringing over their sacks


Ha ha we'll I'm gonna need help with mine because mine is so heavy!!

Unknown Speaker:

Okay, Harriet and Flossie so what should we do, just group all the sacks together or do we pours it out or what do we do?

Harriet Donnelly:

Okay, so what we do is we have our weighing scales here and we just hook it to our sacks and then we just weigh each one and then have a big old math add up and see what the big weight is.

Unknown Speaker:

So Flossie with your huge full sack, if you want to go first maybe.

Harriet Donnelly:

Okay, that's at least that's 12 kilos on the weighing scales.

Michelle Connolly:

All right, so Harriet it's your turn now so Flossie you take over here, you're gonna wear your mom's

Flossie Donnelly:

it says two kilos.

Michelle Connolly:

Yay.!! Is that is that a good good amount?

Harriet Donnelly:

Well, this is full of lots of bits of plastic so two kilos is lots of tiny bits of plastic which is actually great.

Unknown Speaker:

Okay, I think floss is still in the lead! Okay, we'll weigh some of the other ones then as well.

Harriet Donnelly:

Okay, that's coming up as a three kilos

Michelle Connolly:

Whoo. Okay, bring yours over here girls. Bring your sacks over. Okay, Jackson. Jackson is up next.

Harriet Donnelly:

Wow, that's great. That's two kilos. And the really important thing is because there's so many tiny, tiny bits of plastic in there. That's going to be really important that the fish don't eat it. So you've saved so many fish Jackson. Well done.!!


Well done. On Jackson, yeah. !!


Well, I have to say, Michelle, this is brilliant across the board. No matter how big the sacks were, everyone did a really important job collecting so much plastic.

Unknown Speaker:

One second, buddy. We've still got mine to do ...can you even hold it.!

Unknown Speaker:

Okay, so Harriet how much is in Busters?

Flossie Donnelly:

Oh, that's definitely four kilos.


Four kilos. Okay, I take it, I'll take that. !

Flossie Donnelly:

Okay, competition on so Buddy, you're up next. You want to bring your sack over?


Yep, yep. overdramatic Wow,

Harriet Donnelly:

Buddy. You got loads of bottles in yours is good and heavy. Yours is five kilos.

Unknown Speaker:

So I think Buddy's the winner. But the outright winner for definite is Flossie, she is the professional in this competition for sure. So well done.


Well, Michelle, it is called Flossie and the Beach Cleaners you know!!

Yes, you're right

Michelle Connolly:

So that's it for now from us here in the seaside town of Killiney, in County Dublin, where we spend the day with Flossie and the Beach cleaners. We've learned so much about our beaches and the marine life that lives both in and out of the water.

Unknown Speaker:

Yeah, it's been great. And after everything I've seen and learned today I don't think I'll ever look at a piece of plastic rubbish the same way ever again.


Yeah, and I can't believe how much I've learned. It's so cool learning about looking after our beaches and seas when we're actually on a beach. I can't wait to do some more activities with Flossie and all the other kids; they are just the best !

Michelle Connolly:

They really are so guys. Join us next week when we'll be doing loads more fun activities with Flossie and her team.

Unknown Speaker:

Oh, I can't wait Michelle.

Michelle Connolly:

Me too.


Me three.!!

Unknown Speaker:

So until next week, guys, remember try to be healthy,


be well


and be happy.!

Unknown Speaker:

See you next time on The Kids Are All Right podcast.


Happy summer kids.

Happy summer Bye.!

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