It really helps give us a picture of how much litter and what kind of litter is getting into the sea. In The MCS’s own words: “We can talk to water companies when we see lots of Sewage Related Debris being recorded. We can prove to decision makers and leaders that our seas are in trouble by showing them over 20 years of litter data. We can talk to companies whose logos keep showing up on beach litter and we can work with manufacturers to find solutions. But we can't do any of this if we don't have the data to back it up.”
Our haul from Kynance. Time for a quick photo then on to the next beach! (Photo: Michael Hirst)
Litter pick at Carleon Cove (Photo: Michael Hirst)
What we found
It’s amazing what you can find on just a short section of beach. At Kynance cove we found several beach towels and bits of clothing, as well as shoes, rubber balls, large pieces of scrap metal, cigarette lighters, bottle tops, bits of plastic and lots of netting.
To our surprise it took the same amount of time to clean Carleon as it did to do Kynance, even though Carleon is much smaller! Carleon took us a bit longer because we found a lot of tiny pieces of plastic, all of which had to be categorised and recorded. There was also a lot of seaweed on the beach which also meant we had to spend time sifting through it for hidden items.
This fish hook could have easily been swallowed by a
sea bird or picked up by a child (Photo: Michael Hirst)
Speaking of hidden items - I found a vicious looking fishing hook in a nest of seaweed. Instantly I felt I had made a difference; getting rid of it has saved someone or something from getting hurt. Lots of research is now being done on ghost fishing gear, to learn more or find out how to report 'ghost gear' visit the Ghost Gear Initiative's website
The 2015 “Great British Beach Clean” results are still being counted, but as of 13th October, 1500 bags of rubbish had been collected across 244 beaches and all the data entered online. This invaluable information gives the MCS a better idea of where to focus their campaigns.
- The Linking the Lizard Partnership provides all sorts of local beach cleaning opportunities too. Click here (and scroll down the next page) to learn more about what's happening in your area.