Thanks to an extraordinarily long British summer (ie lasting more than two weeks) I ran out of excuses not to get out there and join a local beach clean-up.
It’s amazing what we can achieve if we all get together to do something about an issue.
However I seem to have a talent for missing them or not turning up on time. Followers of this blog will remember a few weeks ago I ran into a beach clean up shortly after it had finished. You know that feeling when you get somewhere only to find everyone is cleaning up?
By the time I do turn up I’ve usually become a grump (“why do I have to register?”, “why do I need an armband?” etc) and have to consciously relocate my natural co-operative demeanour.
Those I have turned up to but missed completely due to bad timekeeping include the aforementioned Marine Conservation Society and two meetings of the well-named “Brighton Storm Troopers” (they troop out after a storm – get it?). The first time I couldn’t find it. The second time it wasn’t my fault – it was they who left early. That’s my version of events anyway.
You might wonder how anyone living by the coast can miss a beach cleanup, but it is possible. Still, I’m not dissuaded, I’m already waiting for the next storm, and in Britain that won’t be too long coming.
But a few weeks ago I exceeded my own expectations and managed to get myself to the Sea Life beach tidy on time. I grumped about: the need to enrol, the need to queue to do so (and especially) the rule about “not going in the water”. Not going in the water?? Welcome to England.
After this I felt better.
What’s good about beach cleans? Beach cleans are great, for several reasons. They get the whole community out there doing something to help the environment. Parents show a good example to their kids, and the kids just love being out and taking part.
Plus it sends a message to other beach users that we care about the beach and the oceans, and don’t want to mess them up with plastic and other waste. More and more organisations are starting up their own. Where I live it’s getting hard to find much litter out there to organise a clean-up around.
OK you might say, what good does this do in the scheme of things? But if we focus on all the things that aren’t right in the world we’ll never get anywhere. Martin Luther King didn’t think that way. Neither does David Attenborough, so I’m not going to either.
People who organise beach clean-ups:
(it’s a bit UK-focused I’m afraid)
Deliveroo beach clean-up initiative https://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/deliveroo-beach-delivery-clean-beach-scheme-uk-a8374226.html
National Trust are looking for volunteers to help clean up South-West beaches https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/features/beach-cleans
Surfers against Sewage organise beach cleans https://www.sas.org.uk/our-work/beach-cleans/
MCS Beachwatch https://www.mcsuk.org/beachwatch/events
Clean Coasts in Ireland http://cleancoasts.org
Pier 2 Pier beach cleans https://www.pier2pierbeachclean.com
Brighton Sea Life https://www.visitsealife.com/brighton/conservation/beach-cleans/