Last week we had our final beach clean of 2018. A fantastic 23 people came along to Whitehaven’s North shore and helped us on a bright, and somewhat breezy, day. This beach clean was the first where we’ve used the hessian coffee sacks which Carvetii Coffee have kindly donated to us. We’re using the sacks instead of bin bags so that we’re sending less plastic to landfill. The hessian sacks not only hold more waste, but we hope they’ll also beak down quicker than plastic.
We know from previous beach cleans that there’s lots of rope in the rock armour at Whitehaven so we decided to come armed with and assortment of implements to try and cut this out. It takes a lot of time to say through nylon rope so we were really lucky to have a few dedicated volunteers who tackled the worst areas.
Because we had lots of people we also decided to survey the litter we collected. We use the Marine Conservation Society’s beachwatch surveying method so that we can contribute all the data to a national record and help to build up a picture of the national marine litter issue.
In total we collected 346 pieces of litter in an hour and a half. Not bad when you consider some of that had to be cut from amongst the rock armour, dragged a few hundred metres along the beach or picked up at arms reach with a litter picker. The table below gives you an idea of the variety of material we found.
Plastic makes up a staggering 63.5% of all the litter found on the day, and a lot of that was plastic bottles, bottle cpas, food wrapping and other items which could have been recycled. Coming in second place was paper and cardboard – a lot of this was fast food rubbish and should have been disposed of properly rather than ending up on the beach. The best finds of the day included fishing bouys, fishing crates, two tyres and two wellies – found quite far apart but possibly a pair! the fishing crate has been repurposed and our Project Officer is now using it to store and transport all of our beach cleaning gear around (reduce, reuse, recycle in action!)
We’ll be looking back over all our 2018 beach cleans soon, and giving you some idea of how much litter we’ve collected this year. But in the meantime we’ve finalised the dates of all of our beach cleans for 2019…so if you’re at a loose end on the last Thursday of the month then come along! All the details can be found on our events page.