Groups take on beach litter together, and it’s working!

posted in: Cornwall Wildlife Groups | 0

Volunteers from the Falmouth and Helford Marine Conservation Groups have been taking part in beach cleans involving several local groups of volunteers coming together to benefit people and wildlife. Their efforts are having a dramatically positive effect on beaches in Cornwall and their anti-litter message was even taken as far afield as the Glastonbury Festival.

Six kilograms of plastic rubbish, from a total of about 30kg of rubbish collected at Pendennis Head on 18th May, formed part of an onstage artwork at this year’s Glastonbury Festival, to publicise the need to keep beaches clean of human litter.  The large amount of rubbish collected was due to collaboration between four separate groups of volunteers: event organisers One Bag Beach Clean, Falmouth Marine Conservation, Plastic-free Falmouth and English Heritage.

Enjoying a successful beach clean at Pendennis Head

A similar collaboration in May between One Bag Beach Clean, Clean Ocean Sailing and Helford Marine Conservation Group, which involved kayakers as well as volunteers on foot, resulted in 17kg of waste being collected from Polgwidden Cove, Passage Cove, The Bar and Pedn Billy. As well as recyclable bottles and cans, the waste included full dog poo bags and discarded fishing net.

On World Oceans Day, 8th June, Falmouth Marine Conservation, Plastic Free Falmouth and One Bag Beach Clean cleaned the beach, nature reserve and footpaths at Swanpool. Thirty beach cleaners picked up 18.2kg of rubbish, to sort and recycle where possible. The final tally was 13.7kg of general waste, 1.9kg of recyclable cans and bottles, and 2.6kg of plastic material for the Ocean Recovery project, to be made into kayaks. As kayaks can be used to collect rubbish from the water, and from remote beaches that are difficult to access on foot, this is a particularly satisfying outcome.  Another piece of great news is that the amount of rubbish is gradually going down. In October last year, the same site yielded a massive 112.35kg of refuse.  

Beach cleaners at Helford

One Bag Beach Clean founder Carol Hurst said, “We’ve been holding monthly beach cleans and litter picks for the past year. Together we can make a difference – if everybody takes their rubbish home, and helps clear up any that they find, we’ll be reducing the amount of litter left and the damage to the environment it can cause.”

In the case of the Swanpool clean-up, she said, “This is the least amount of rubbish we’ve ever picked up, and that’s great news.”

Some of the volunteers at the Swanpool beach clean, with much less waste than before. All information and photos courtesy of Jane Leigh, Falmouth Marine Conservation

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