The Great British Beach Clean is being organized by Keep Britain Tidy. What does this entail?
For me, the reality means extracting litter posted into prickly blackthorn bushes by those too lazy to take their party rubbish home. It’s usually made up of beer bottles and nitrous oxide canisters, which will never decompose.
I pull on a pair of gloves, grab bucket and barbecue tongs and just get on with picking up the litter. It is, however good to analyse what is found and report findings on social media.
There is so little wave action on Solent shores that broken glass remains a problem for years, endangering paddling children, beloved dogs and wildlife.
On top of this we now have PPE, endless cans and paper cups that have been in people’s mouths, along with clothing and stolen items.
I use a heavy duty bucket, rather than a black plastic bag, so I can cope with broken glass. It can end up containing 260 pieces and weighing more than 6kgs when full. Needing an extra bag is rarely a problem – I find so many.
I go out with friends and family making it fun. Teenagers always have a lot to say about the hazards of #plasticpollution especially when it has travelled a fair distance. Plymouth is 150 miles from the Solent.
The aim is to remove rubbish from sensitive coastal or riverine areas before it can damage the environment.
There are often old lighters, always micro plastics and bottle tops. It is the tiny pieces that take time to collect but small children are good at this.
I go out daily, finding helium ballons, more PPE and endless plastic bottles.
I use tongs and avoid touching the rubbish, even with gloves. It’s cleaner on the shore, since almost everything has been soaking in seawater. Most of this (above) was flotsam. Collecting up litter that others should have taken home (below) is more aggravating but it is makes a huge difference and is a job that has to be done before the wildlife suffers.
Do think of registering with Keep Britain Tidy who offer advice and your local litter-picking group who will have equipment and dates for group activities.
Hoping to see you on the sea shore sometime. If you’d like to see a full list of the things I found in the past, please click here.
For photos of some of the weirdest things I’ve found, click here
3 thoughts on “Diary of a beachcomber: Taking part in the Great British Beach Clean 2020”
Hello – got all excited as I always do the September beach-rubbish recording event, but woe – because of COVID, no groups – families/bubbles are invited to organise their own. I and my cat are our own bubble, and I suspect that my cat won’t join me in biking to the coast with a recording form and a bin-liner. Never mind – I’ll keep litter-picking locally, and next year who knows! xx
It’s incredible what people will just drop or push into crevices, instead of looking for a bin or taking it home. Thank you for helping to keep our beautiful beaches clean.
As a nation, we seem to have developed a ‘bin mentality’ and need to use a ‘virtual bin’ if one isn’t handy instead of taking our rubbish home to recycle. This attitude has to change. Bins are expensive to keep going. I believe it costs £150 a time to empty one dog poo bin.