SAS Big Spring Beach Clean: Cambois 15th April 2018
The weather was finally back on our side as our troop of volunteers headed down to Cambois Beach with Surfers Against Sewage. If you remember, our March clean-up was cancelled because of the snow, so this was our first opportunity to get together after the storms and rough seas battered the North East coast. On first glances, we thought the beach had already been cleaned! Hardly any debris was lying on the sand. Then we remembered that there's a VERY high tide in that particular spot. The water comes right up to the rocky sea defences so essentially, the ocean cleans the sand twice daily. However, it may look pretty but it's not a good thing... it just means that whatever was on the beach is now in the water.
As our volunteers brought their overflowing buckets from further down the beach, we started to see the true extent of the problem! We recovered a crazy amount of plastic bottles on this clean up.
Our 35 strong army of volunteers collected 186kg of rubbish from the beach. This included over 30kg of plastic and 4kg of dog poo... yuk. We also carried out a Marine Conservation Society Beach Watch Survey. We found more than usual, with 17.6kg removed from the survey area itself. As you can see below, there was SO much plastic washed up by the recent storms. You can see a full breakdown of the survey data here.
Nic's choice of t-shirt was very fitting for the day!
More balloon rubbish found and removed before it did any damage to our local wildlife.
Our Work Doesn't Go Unnoticed...
As it was such a beautiful morning, the beach was full of visitors. A number of walkers took the time to come and have a chat. They all thanked us for our hard work and had a good rant about the attitude of some people in the world today. Some even decided to grab some litter pickers and do their own impromptu clean up during their morning stroll!
There may still be a lot of litter on our beaches, but the plastic tide is turning. Research has shown that since the plastic carrier bag charge came into force, there's been a 30% reduction in the number of plastic bags found in the ocean. And with huge companies like McDonalds promising to ditch plastic straws, things can only get better.
More local companies are doing their part to reduce the amount of waste making its way to our beaches. Whole towns, including Whitley Bay and Tynemouth, are committing to ditch plastics from their workplaces, restaurants and cafes. Ciccarelli's ice cream shop at South Beach are now offering a free ice cream or coffee in return for a bucket full of trash.
So What Next?
We'll be back on Cambois Beach on the 27th May. You can register your interest on the Marine Conservation Society Beach Watch page or on our Facebook event. Look out for upcoming underwater and beach clean ups on our Facebook page. Of course, you don’t need to wait for an organised event to make a difference – grab a bag and conduct your own 2 Minute Beach Clean on your next coastal visit.