It´s Spring Clean time, world-wide thousands of people will clean hundreds of beaches, rivers and lakes. Together they´ll remove staggering amounts of plastics from our tide lines, and if you so wish, you can join them!
You can find the information for the world-wide cleans with Surfrider and for the UK with Surfers Against Sewage. Both have great websites where you can locate the nearest one to you.
Surfrider Europe also have also made a video, with the Beach Boys soundtrack. Who doesn´t love the Beach Boys?!
Back in 2009 We were doing one of many independent beach cleans in the January, when a guy from Germany, Ingo, joined in and told me about Surfriders Ocean Initiative. I signed us up and we were on the official map. Which meant we could add our figures to the data Surfrider collects.
Three of us, Ingo, Pedro and myself, held cleans on three different local beaches on one day.
We participated every year after. Keeping an open time window so people could come when it was convenient for them (I couldn´t predict the surf and the clean needed to be arranged in advance) anywhere in the region of 60-90 people would come over the course of a day. We´d removed so much plastic year after year.
The year that I´d left, my friend Wiebke arranged one, and plans to do another this Spring, after a big swell.
Beach cleans are fantastic. When the weathers nice it´s a morning, afternoon on the beach. It has the “feel good factor”, time out doors moving plastics, walking away seeing how people have made a difference is a warm feeling. Having a tea, or beer with friends after is lovely (We often used it as an excuse to have bit of a party…!) But there´s a lot more to them that…
Cleaning prevent the plastic returning where it kills. Plastic doesn´t rot, the 100,000s of animals it kills do. Then the plastic goes back on it´s merry way to kill again and again… removing it prevents this from happening. Removing it from a river bank prevents it getting to the ocean in the first place.
In the press this week is the reporting of the Post-Mortem on the 13 stranded North Sea sperm whales finds their stomachs full of plastic. This occurred near the town of Tönning in Schleswig-Holstein (Germany).
Beach cleans educate. People learn about plastic pollution, and the more people who know plastics is in our oceans, and the devastating effect it is having, the more likely they are to make a choice when they are out shopping. Or go on to make other changes, such as Ingo, Pedro, Wiebke and myself.
I had no idea about plastic pollution until I took part in my first clean.
Ingo has since gone on to work with and teach disabled people to make incredible canvas bags. Pedro recently set up One Per Session. A public facebook group which encourage surfers to pick up one piece of plastic after a surf session and document their finds.
Though, from looking at the pictures, it´s not only surfers, and they don´t stop at one piece!
(These are just a few shots from the ever growing collection).
It´s a similar concept to Take 3 a not-for-profit organisation also started by a surfer Tim Silverwood in Australia in 2009 which now has over 15,000 followers on facebook. Small actions, adding up….
So if you fancy getting involved in a clean, here are the details again for Surfrider and Surfers Against Sewage. Or you may want to pick up One Per Session, where you can add your pictures here. What ever you choose to do….
…Remember; every refusal, and every piece of plastic moved from our water ways – adds up!