​Be your own beach clean super hero

by Sarah Ryman Spotlight on Waste Author - Alice C Doyle

What better way to celebrate the start of Spring than to get outdoors in the sunshine and join a big Beach Clean!

Pier-to-Pier ran their Beach Clean on the 3rd March with a fab theme of Superheroes Silent Disco. The event was hosted by The Tempest, one the 56 venues signed up to the ‘Plastic Free Pledge’, to limit, many single-use plastics from their business, and supporters of the #Strawsareforsuckers campaign. Over 250 people swooped in to be superheroes for three hours.

Pier-to-Pier, supported by Brighton & Hove City Council's #StreetsAhead campaign and Deans Grab Volunteers, have been running their beach cleans at different venues between the piers for over a year. In 2017 events such as Beach Clean Bingo, the Mermaid Beach Clean and Silent Disco Beach Cleans removed more than 800kg of litter from Brighton Beach and the events are growing in popularity.

What makes the Pier-to-Pier Beach Clean so important is the event takes place in the area that is the most popular on Brighton seafront. This is where a lot of litter is dropped or simply blows away, especially during the summer months of BBQs and seafront events.

As anyone who was glued to the last episode of Blue Planet will know, plastics are destroying our ocean habitats and have been a growing silent crisis. Greenpeace report that an estimated 12.7 million tonnes of plastic – everything from plastic bottles and bags to microbeads – end up in our oceans each year. That’s a truck load of rubbish a minute!

Plastic containers can take 80 years to decompose, plastic bottles up to 450 years, and fishing line or “ghost gear” up to 600 years. As they degrade they are eaten by marine life from sea-birds to fish. Plastics have even been found in plankton and as they rise up the food chain they bio-accumulate to be eaten by the larger marine mammals such as whales and dolphins. It won’t be long before we will be buying a bag in the fish, rather than a fish in a bag.

However joining a beach clean is an amazing way to help turn the tide on marine pollution. You don’t even have to be on the coast, water ways cleaning and fishing for plastic are all becoming popular, especially Plodding, the Swedish fitness trend, combining running with litter picks. Litter is no longer being seen as someone else’s responsibility, as we can all help keep our communities safe and clean.

Beach cleans also encourage environmental stewardship, and a continued commitment to pick up rubbish and not drop rubbish in general.

Keen to get involved? There are many ways to help support The Living Coast and our oceans. The Great British Spring Clean is taking place over March and has a handy map to find out all the event taking place. Or why not join the next Pier-to-Pier Beach Clean, the details are on their website, along with top tips on how to be a Sustainable Superhero.

And there are many other unsung superheroes making a big splash. You could join Surfers against Sewage, or meet “living plastic free” waste expert Libby Darling at Deans Volunteers. You don’t have to be part of an event either, the #2minutebeachclean is a great initiative and even has an App so you can post directly to Instagram or Twitter. Tag your photos with #LivingCoastUK and we'll feature on our social media channels too.

So why not be your own superhero and swoop in for a beach clean.

Alice C Doyle - Positive Impacts

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