A beautiful day for a beach clean!

Beach Clean: Cambois 21st January 2018

This month's wintry beach clean saw a record number of volunteers turning out to do their bit to tackle the problem of marine debris - 23 in total! Blue Planet II has really made an impact on so many people. Some of our volunteers commented that they'd seen the impacts of plastic pollution in the media recently, and felt they needed to take action. With some coming from as far as Huddersfield and North Yorkshire, the dedication of our crew is amazing! We even had budding marine biologists and Duke of Edinburgh candidates coming along with their families. How fantastic that young people are leading the way! 

We just had enough equipment for everyone - it's time to invest in some more litter pickers! On that note, we have decided to register as a volunteer organisation so we can access funding more easily. As the beach cleans are currently funded by the dive centre, it's impossible to apply for grants that are aimed at community projects - businesses just aren't eligible even if they are doing good work! We've created a community Facebook group "Our Sea Trash Free" which we're encouraging all volunteers and anyone who might be interested to join. It's the perfect way to keep up to date with current projects, get in touch with like minded people and get hints and tips on how to lead a plastic free lifestyle! 

The weather was brisk, but the sun was still trying to shine through. When we arrived at North Blyth Car Park, the high tide from the early morning had left the access ramp very slippy. We decided to move our volunteers to the Beach House down the road to avoid any accidents... safety first!

The Rough Seas Have Spewed Up More Litter...

Our volunteers removed 118.2kg of rubbish from the beach and dunes. Although it's not the biggest haul we've had, it's more than double the amount from the last beach clean at Cambois. We think this might have something to do with the weather. There's been continued rough seas over the festive period (and don't we know it cos it's stopped us going diving on a number of occasions!). We noticed that there was more trash collected in the Marine Conservation Society Beach Watch Survey area than usual - a total of 12kg. As the survey is conducted from the water's edge to the strand line, this suggests that more rubbish has been brought in by the sea.

We had the usual issues with dog poo, especially in the dunes - our hardy volunteers removed a whopping 10kg of the stuff. At the risk of sounding like a broken record... we just don't understand the mentality! To go to the effort of buying poo bags and picking up, only then to STILL litter the beach is beyond our comprehension. Similar to what you see when there's mobile speed cameras about, we've seen Facebook posts recently where individuals are "warning" others when the dog wardens are doing their rounds in the region so people can avoid the dog poo fine. It's such a simple and common sense task it shouldn't need enforcement at all! Perhaps one day we'll see a shift in attitude comparable to the current shift with single use plastic and plastic packaging. Fingers crossed! 

Until then, our amazing volunteers will do the dirty work for the inconsiderate!

Since we have adopted Cambois and North Blyth Beaches as part of the Marine Conservation Society's Beach Watch Initiative, we pledge to conduct a survey at least once a month. A full breakdown of the data submitted can be found on their site. The majority of rubbish removed from the survey area was plastic and polystyrene - pesky materials that, if Theresa May keeps her word, will be eradicated from packaging by 2045. Thanks Theresa, but we think it's a little bit more urgent than that! Thank goodness for companies like Iceland who have vowed to go plastic free for their own brand products within 5 years. 

A beautiful day for a beach clean!
A beautiful day for a beach clean!

So What Next?

We'll be back on Cambois Beach on the 18th February. We've also got a very special litter pick at the dive centre on the 3rd March as part of Keep Britain Tidy's Great British Spring Clean. 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.

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Nic Emery

Nic is one of the co-founders of The Fifth Point. She is a Master Instructor with a keen interest in environmental conservation.

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