Monday, 20 June 2011

Selsey Beach Clean and BBQ!

“It’s going to rain!” We looked gloomily at the weather forecast- it certainly did look as if it was going to rain. This was bad news, because we had a coach booked to head for Selsey, West Sussex to clean a 3 mile stretch of West Beach. For days we worried over every little change in the weather forecast, and they all said different things. Should we cancel?

Our volunteers are briefed and collect thier epuipment
Gazebo 1 - Wind 0

Luckily we took the gamble. We didn’t cancel and were rewarded with amazing weather! Whilst it was raining in Kingston the sky In Selsey was blue and cloudless. Sun cream even had to be passed out; although it was so incredibly windy our gazebo nearly blew away!

Twenty-four volunteers collected an incredible 73.5kg (11.5 stones!) of rubbish from the beach, including rusty metal, cotton buds, crisp packets, clothing and lots of plastic. The Manhood WildlifeTrust, who conduct conservation projects in the area, were thrilled with our efforts.

Volunteers have fun at the beach

It wasn’t all hard work though, there was time for a barbeque (Rhiannon and Lynsey proved to be expert chefs), games and paddling, and two brave souls even went for a swim!

George who took part in the trip said “It was a fun and rewarding day where working in a team really paid off to help the environment. Everyone got stuck in to finding, collecting and recording the rubbish on the neglected beach. Once we had worked up an appetite the BBQ was really worthwhile. Overall it was a great day out at the beach in the sunshine and making it cleaner from a few hours work was very satisfying."

Weighing the rubbish that was collected

Kingston University’s Biodiversity Officer Lynsey Stafford was on hand to provide some environmental know how. Here she explains why the efforts of our volunteers are so important…

As well as making this popular beach safer for the young families which use it, the efforts of the volunteers will also have a positive impact on the marine environment.

The extent to which humans rely on plastic was made very clear to us as we trundled along the beach, picking items up that ranged from bottles to bags, fishing net to food wrappers and cotton buds to cigarette lighters. Most of the litter we collected was plastic, including small fragments that had become indistinguishable. 

The effect plastic has on sea creatures
And that is the big problem with plastic –plastics are non bio-degradable meaning that whilst they break down into smaller and smaller pieces, they will never disappear completely. The MCS (Marine ConservationSociety) say that in some parts of the world, there are more fragments of plastic in the sea than plankton. Plastics can entangle wild animals, or they can swallow it believing it to be food.

The MCS, for whom we recorded all of our litter pick data, have two main campaigns which aim to reduce the litter found on our beaches – read about them here so that you can do your bit for our marine environment!

Rhiannon and Lynsey cook up a feast

You can find all the photos's from the day on our Facebook page here

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