Saturday, 13 June 2015

30 Days Wild Day 13: Cleaning up Goring Beach!

Number 13: unlucky for some but very lucky in my family! I'm pretty exhausted as I type this, from a combination of climbing up and down a pebbly beach and being battered by a relentless sea breeze. Today was my second organised beach clean-up event, held on behalf of the Marine Conservation Society; I held the first back in March. When I first woke up this morning, I was slightly dismayed to find that the weather was even more overcast and dim than when I did the first clean-up and even the breeze wasn't particularly warm. Thankfully, by the time I'd driven down to Worthing and picked up the litter pickers from the beach office (while weaving through the children's carnvial/parade thing that was marching down the beachfront), the sun had come out completely and the wind, although incredibly strong, was surprisingly mild and I didn't even have to put on my rain mac for an extra layer!

I had a brilliant team of volunteers again, slightly smaller in numbers than the first but all were eager to go, despite none of them having ever done an organised beach clean before. The only annoying thing we found as we began collecting litter was that the rubbish bags acted like sails in the strong gusts and nearly blew half of us away, as well as making putting small scraps in there very tricky! I think even with bag rings, we would have still had the same issue. I guess that's the risk you take when you're down on the coast! At least the wind/kite surfers were able to make the most of it.

I picked up quite a number of metal drinks cans this time around as well as plenty of pieces of fishing line and rope. Thankfully, we didn't come across any dead animals or pack yokes that are notorious for strangling wildlife. Still, considering the beach had only been cleaned three months ago, the amount of litter about was surprising. It will be interesting to see at the next event in September how it has fared after a summer of picnics, BBQs, fish and chips, and ice creams have been consumed. I like to think that most people are like me; happy to take their rubbish to the nearest bin or home with them. Sadly, I know this isn't the case for many of the UK and it drives me mad. There's really no excuse for it. 

Balloons are not biodegradable

There were plenty of interesting items that were naturally occuring, including a huge abundance of whole cuttle fish. Normally, I only see left-over pieces of these but not today. A great number of whelk egg-cases were scattered around as well as large pieces of crab shell and shark egg cases. I'm quite tempted to come back during the month and have a little beach-combing session actually, to give me a chance for a closer look.

It was lovely being out in the fresh air with the sun beaming down, even with that keen wind! I do enjoy seeing a group of strangers working together to make a difference in such a way as this and it instills a renewed sense of hope in me that there are people who care about our environment and want to take care of it. One of the volunteers actually asked if she could collect some of the fishing line and rope for her textile work at university, which she will recycle and turn into fabric! What a great and innovative way to make a negative into a positive.

Among other categories, we collected: 

25 metal items
20 sanitary items
16 paper items
243 (!) plastic items

The amount of plastic items over every other materials still astounds me. There were quite a few make-up wipes which I have never flushed down the toilet but apparently some people do! I'd love to be able to encourage more people to take part in these events, if only to open their eyes to what happens to the items we put down the loo. Thanks to my brilliant volunteers, we collected over 5kg of rubbish which is great! 

If you are interested in taking part in a beach clean-up for the MCS, visit or sing up for my next event on 19th September here: 

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