The plastic problem seems to be on everyone’s radar now, from families making more eco-friendly choices when it comes to packaging at their local supermarket, to business owners moving towards being plastic free, and school children protesting outside the houses of parliament. Plastic pollution is a topic that concerns everyone, across all generations.
Living by the coast highlights the devastating impact of plastic on our local environment and marine life even more so, with many people living in Cornwall and other coastal areas feeling compelled to do something about it. Since being awarded plastic-free status from Surfer’s Against Sewage, we are more motivated than ever to cut out single-use plastics and help our local community and environment as much as we can.
After the success of our last beach clean in Hayle, we decided to organise another community event. This time opting for the popular beach of Marazion as our destination, we teamed up with Surfer’s Against Sewage, who provided us with the essentials, including bin bags and gloves, gathered a group of us together and headed for the beach.
With more than 20 of us in total, including Aspects staff and our family and friends, we were ready to pick up as much litter as we could find, braving the windy weather and dark clouds looming overhead! We even had a few wagging-tailed helpers within the group too.
Wrapped up warm against the elements, wearing wellies and woolly hats, we headed off from Marazion car park and began strolling across the sand, towards St Michael’s Mount. Our volunteers were all enthusiastic, despite the strong gusts of wind and the sudden hail shower we got caught in towards the end!
At first glance, the beach looked clean and we wondered if we would be able to find much rubbish to fill our bags with. However, on closer inspection, we began to spot plastic straws and bottle tops buried in the sand, and pieces of rope and fishing line tangled in the seaweed.
As we were wearing our protective gloves, we weren’t put off by untangling rubbish from the seaweed, sifting through sand on our hands and knees to find small pieces of plastic, or climbing up the sand dunes to retrieve plastic wrappers!
The small pieces of plastic are easy to miss, but are perhaps the most dangerous of all. Easily ingested by sea birds, fish, seals, or other marine life, we tried to remove as many of these hazardous pieces of plastic as possible.
We found some larger everyday items such as packaging from a microwave meal, ring-pulls from fizzy drinks and a rubber bouncy ball.
Some of the more unusual items we found were a stripy sock, a Barbie doll arm, and a melted dummy. We also found a dog poo bag (luckily it was empty!), the mouth piece of a snorkel mask and a tampon applicator. You just never know what you’re going to find washed up on the beach!
We managed to almost completely fill 8 bags with rubbish, many of them filled with large pieces of fishing rope, which we emptied into the large council bins in the car park.
We would like to thank everyone who gave up a couple of hours last Sunday to help with the beach clean. We did an excellent job and collected tons of rubbish, and we’re happy to be contributing towards cleaner beaches and seas, for local people and guests. Sadly, in reality, we could have spent all day picking up rubbish and each day more and more litter is washed up with the tide…
We will of course be organising another beach clean soon, and in the meantime, our new rule is to take a bag every time we visit the beach and pick up at least five pieces of rubbish!
We encourage everyone to do the same, whether it’s at the beach, in your local park or nearby town. We can make a difference if we work together and help protect our beautiful planet.