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  • Writer's pictureMartha Edwards

Beach Clean-Up: How a Small Act Can Make a Big Difference

Our beaches are undeniably beautiful. They're the places we flock to for peace, relaxation, and to admire the grandeur of nature. But with an increasing global population and the ease of convenience that plastic products provide, our precious shorelines are starting to bear the brunt of our collective consumption habits. Plastic waste is a significant issue, and while we might feel like our individual actions can't make a dent in the problem, nothing could be further from the truth. This post will dive into the importance of beach clean-ups and how this small act can make a substantial difference to our environment and future.

The Plastic Problem on Our Beaches

Every year, an estimated 8 million metric tons of plastic enter our oceans. From plastic bottles to bags, straws to synthetic microfibers, these items are the most common type of marine debris found on our shores. Over time, plastic breaks down into smaller pieces called microplastics, which are virtually impossible to clean up and can cause significant harm to marine life.

The Power of Beach Clean-Ups

So, what can we do about this growing problem? One incredibly effective way is through organised beach clean-ups. These events rally the community to come together and collect waste from the beach before it has a chance to enter the ocean. In a single day, volunteers at a beach clean-up can collect thousands of pounds of rubbish, significantly reducing the amount of waste that might otherwise harm marine life or degrade the beauty of the beach. It also helps to increase awareness about the types of waste most commonly found on our beaches and provides a tangible way to help tackle the problem.

The Butterfly Effect of Beach Clean-Ups

Beach clean-ups have a ripple effect that extends far beyond the day of the event.

  • Firstly, they serve as a valuable educational tool. Participants often leave with a heightened awareness of the impact of litter on our environment and a greater understanding of the importance of waste reduction and recycling.

  • Secondly, beach clean-ups can inspire policy change. By showcasing the amount of single-use plastic collected, clean-ups can provide compelling evidence to support bans or taxes on items like plastic bags, straws, and styrofoam containers.

  • Lastly, the clean-up events bring communities together for a common cause. This unity can spark ongoing environmental stewardship, where residents feel a shared responsibility for the cleanliness and health of their local beaches.

How You Can Get Involved

There are many ways you can participate in a beach clean-up. Look for local environmental or conservation groups that host clean-up events.

Surfers against Sewage can give guidance in organising beach cleans, as well as providing info on where organised events are taking place.

On a smaller scale it can be as simple as bringing a bag to collect rubbish the next time you visit the beach. Remember to sort and recycle the waste you collect correctly. Some items can be repurposed or upcycled, serving as a stark reminder of the creativity that can emerge when we start viewing waste as a resource, not just rubbish.

Castaway Ropeworks handmake their beautiful products out of Ghost Gear and end-of-service ropes donated by local boats utilising the dying art of ropework skills. Ghost Gear is fishing equipment lost at sea and can travel many miles ensnaring all manner of marine life until it reaches the shore.

Final Thoughts on Cleaning our Beaches

Our beautiful beaches and the incredible marine life they support are in danger from the overwhelming amount of waste we produce. While the problem may seem insurmountable, never underestimate the power of collective action. Beach clean-ups are a small act that can make a big difference, not only in cleaning our shores but also in fostering a sense of community and inspiring change on a larger scale.

Here at Seaside Jewellery very proud to be a @surfersagainstsewage Plastic Free Champion. We are replacing our foam jewellery box inserts with eco-friendly foam inserts made from natural viscose and from tall oil which is a by-product of paper production. Living close to the ocean we are passionate about making our business environmentally friendly.

So the next time you enjoy the calming waves or the gentle sea breeze, take a moment to give back to our beaches. Every piece of litter removed is a step towards a cleaner, healthier ocean. Together, we can ensure that our beaches remain places of beauty and tranquility for generations to come.

FAQs: Beach Cleanup

Why are plastics particularly harmful to beach environments?

Plastics take hundreds of years to decompose and often break down into smaller pieces, known as microplastics, which are virtually impossible to clean up. These microplastics can harm marine life, pollute the water, and degrade the beauty of our beaches.

How can I organise a beach clean-up in my local community?

Start by contacting local environmental or conservation groups who may already have clean-up events that you can join. If none exist, consider creating your own event. You'll need to plan logistics like waste disposal, provide supplies, and advertise to attract volunteers.

What should I bring to a beach clean-up?

Bring a sturdy bag for collecting waste, gloves to protect your hands, a hat and sunscreen for sun protection, and water to stay hydrated. Some clean-ups provide equipment, but it's best to check in advance.

What can I do to prevent beach pollution if I can't attend a clean-up?

You can help by reducing your use of single-use plastics, properly disposing of your waste, and recycling whenever possible. Every small action counts!

How does beach cleaning affect marine wildlife?

Removing waste from beaches can have a direct positive impact on marine wildlife. It reduces the risk of animals consuming or getting entangled in debris, particularly plastic waste. Additionally, it helps maintain the natural habitat for numerous species.


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