After having to be rescheduled from a sunny friday in May to a damp Tuesday in June, the organisers were not sure how many volunteers would turn up for the Marine Conservation Society Big Beach Clean in assoctiation with Marks & Spencers Forever Fish Campaign
However they needn’t have worried – the turn out was great.
We were given an introduction by Dr Richard Keirle from the Marine Conservation Society, then split into two groups – half the group did a beach clean, and the other half did a beach clean and survey.
The aims of an MCS beach clean are to:
- Increase awareness of beach litter and its impacts,
- Identify and monitor quantities and sources of beach litter, and
- Encourage action to reduce beach litter at source
Marks & Spencers are working with Marine Conservation Society to support their aims, and uses the 5p charge for their plastic bags to fund it. The bag charge has already reduced plastic bag use by 80% so its a win-win! You can find out more about the Forever Fish campaign here.
I was in the survey group – it was quite a challenge catoegorising all the debri collected – there majority of what our group collected was cotton buds, sweetie wrappers, pieces of glass, bricks and pieces of balloons. Most of the litter appeared to have been washed up by the tide as opposed to being dropped by walkers and visitors to the beach.
Surprisingly there weren’t more plastic bags – I was expecting those.
We also collected several tyres, a wheelie bin, and part of a ship’s cabin!
After an hour we were glad of the BBQ laid on by Marks and Spencers.
Afte the BBQ the rubbish bags were weighed – a total of 125 kg from our stretch of beach alone (not including the tyres and large pieces of “bounty”
Later we posed with our found “treasure”
My son came along too, being very keen on marine wildlife and conservation. He was able to join in with the kids activities organised by National Schools Partnership. He loved it – especially the games and using the metal detector.
It was a great way to become involved with marine conservation and I think I will be even more aware of litter next time I am walking on a beach.
My son had to be persuaded to leave the beach, he loved looking for crabs in the rock pools.
As we left my son said “Mum that was the BEST fun, and we were helping too” – I couldn’t have put it better myself!
For more info Marine Conservation Society has lots of details about upcoming events and other ways to get involved. For kids the School of Fish website is a great resource, with fun online games and educational resources.