Well, what a weekend. The ‘Beast from the East’ and storm Emma had threatened to cancel our beach cleans but with clear roads, clear(ish) skies and low tides we decided to encourage everyone to wrap up warm and head to the shore.
And what a turn out … 26 people at St Bees on Saturday! The sun even put in an appearance and there was plenty of chatter and treasure hunting going on alongside the shoreline rubbish searching. As usual we found all the small stuff – plenty of sanitary products, cotton bud sticks, bottles and the ever present bits of unidentifiable plastic. In total we collected 16 bags of rubbish which is quite a feat when most of the litter we collected could fit into the palm of your hand.
The weather wasn’t quite as kind on Sunday in Whitehaven, but Jack and his family still came down to tackle the litter at North Shore. Here, we mostly find fast food wrappers, cups, cardboard and paper and today was no different. In an hour and a half we had filled 7 bin bags with Jack quickly becoming an expert at finding even the tiniest bits of litter!
A huge thanks to volunteers who gave up their time to come down and help out. We beach clean regularly so check out the events page for when and where we’ll be next.
On Saturday 28 and Sunday 29 October we joined the Surfers Against Sewage team for the Autumn Beach Clean Series to collect litter and washed up rubbish at Whitehaven’s North Shore and St Bees Beach.
The weather was kind on both days and over 30 volunteers gave up their weekend afternoons to come along and join in. As always the amount of plastic pollution was astounding. We spent two hours at each beach and there were so many cotton bud sticks, strings from balloon releases, straws, single use plastic bottles and sanitary applicators that we gave up counting and just kept on collecting. In St Bees alone we collected and removed 22 bags of litter. Fast food packaging, wet wipes, cutlery and rope were also, unfortunately, in abundance high up on the tide line having been washed up during recent storms.
Much of this waste could be avoided with a little bit of though or planning. Some simple (and easy) tips are:
- Take a reusable cup to the coffee shop
- Recycle cans and bottles – don’t chuck them on the ground or in the bin
- Most importantly remember that only the three P’s should go down the toilet – pee, poo and paper!
The weekend of 16 & 17 September was the Marine Conservation Society’s annual Great British Beach Clean. Unlike other beach cleans, the focus at these events is to survey and record the types of litter collected as well as clean the beaches.
These events happen all over the country and we organised two events in the Colourful Coast area. On Saturday we headed to St Bees and with a team of 13 volunteers cleared 9 bags of litter, mostly small plastic, cotton bids and bottle caps which had been brought in and pushed up the beach by the recent high tides and stormy weather.
On Sunday a hardy group of 14 volunteers met at Whitehaven’s North Shore and tackled the litter problem there. Lots of fast food wrapping, drinks bottles and cigarette butts were collected here, some of which hadn’t even seen the sea and had blown from the nearby parking areas – a very different type of letter from St Bees. 14 bags of litter were collected in total, along with drums, containers and two disposable barbeques. As with the St Bees event Copeland Borough Council kindly came to collect it all.
All the data was added to the MCS website and if you’re interested in what we found you can follow the links for the survey results from both beaches:
170917 Whitehaven North Shore – Survey 17 Sep 2017
170916 St Bees – Survey 16 Sep 2017
We’ll be organising more beach cleans in future so keep an eye on the events list and come along to help out, we provide all the tools you’ll need and often there’s a cake or chocolate biscuits afterwards to say thank you for getting out to help!