A couple of weeks ago I was involved in a beach clean with some really great people from Swansea University and Keep Wales Tidy.
We combed a kilometre stretch of beach by the new Bay Campus and pulled close to
20 bags of plastic off the beach.
The amount of litter that gets washed up is astounding and it’s not a new problem.
Each year millions of tonnes of plastic winds its way into our oceans with some experts predicting that by the year 2050 there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish!
The process is therapeutic, lifting up the seaweed and snapping an earbud off the sand with the grabbers…
Here are some tips if you want to do a beach clean:
- GLOVES! – Sometimes the grabbers just aren’t strong enough and you don’t want to be pulling up a shattered bottle with your bare hands, even if you are a finger ninja.
- LEAVE IT CLOSED! – If you find a plastic bottle with some orange Fanta in it and the lid is still on, just pop it in your bag. No point checking if it really is orange Fanta… get my drift?
- ARM ACHE! – Leave the picking until the way back, they said. The bag gets really heavy, they said. Did we listen? No. Did the bag get really heavy before the return journey? Yes.
- FAFF BE GONE! – In the middle of the picture above you can see a black plastic ring. That gets secured to the mouth of the bin liner and makes it incredibly easy to get the rubbish into the bag, without faffing about with a windy bag…
- SHOES! – I was really tempted to wear flip flops, but it was recommended that we wore shoes. Having that extra protection on your feet allows you to concentrate on picking plastic rather than where you put your feet.
- NO OBLIGATION! – Remember, you are volunteering your time. There is no obligation for you to pick up shattered glass or put yourself in danger at all. Stick with the group, and DON’T BE A HERO. Unless you want to be, in which case the beach ecosystem will love you forever.
- NO NEEDLES! – This is a sad one but needs to be said. You may come across hypodermic needles (from all those clumsy nurses, obviously…) that have been left on the beach. If you are with an organisation like Keep Wales Tidy, there are people with special training and safety boxes that will get the needles off the beach. The above suggestion that you can be a hero if you want to DOES NOT APPLY TO NEEDLES.
- WINNER! – Go out with a group and see who can find the most interesting piece of plastic. I guarantee you will be surprised with that you find!
I highly recommend giving a beach clean a go. You never know what you might find, or who you might meet.
I have included some links below for beach cleans and companies that organise them.
Big thank you to Keep Wales Tidy and the girls from Swansea Uni who organised it!
NTP and Swansea Keep Wales Tidy:
Keep Wales Tidy:
Marine Conservation Society:
Surfers Against Sewage: