By Sarah Ward
Living Seas Officer
Over the winter we put on a series of beach clean events across Sussex to help play our part in tackling the problem of plastics in our oceans. We ran four events at beaches in Brighton, Worthing, Seaford and Bognor Regis; we were overwhelmed with volunteers wanting to help and had just under 100 volunteers who attended across these events. At around two hours per event, this added up to nearly 800 hours of volunteer time! So first and foremost, a huge THANK YOU to all the volunteers who took part!
In addition to cleaning the litter off the beaches, we also surveyed our findings, using the Marine Conservation Society’s Beach Watch survey forms. This means that we are able to add our data to their nationwide dataset.
In addition to collecting data, we also sorted out recyclable materials and separated these from non-recyclables. Sussex Wildlife Trust have partnered with TerraCycle UK, who have provided us with some special collecting boxes for hard plastics found on the beach. This gives us a place to recycle certain types of plastic materials which would not be recycled in kerbside recycling schemes.
So what did we find?
Across the four beaches, we picked up a whopping 4500 pieces of litter, amounting to 44 full bin bags (plus a few awkwardly-shaped extra bits!). The vast majority – 75% (3,290 pieces) – was plastic. The other 25% was made up of other materials including rubber, cloth, paper, machined wood, metal and glass. Some of the more interesting items included golf balls, ear defenders and a rubber Crocs shoe. However, interestingly, a large proportion of items were small ‘miscellaneous’ pieces of litter which had clearly been washed in on the tide, rather than directly dropped on the beach; this is most likely due to the time of year, when the beaches are less heavily used.
Due to the huge popularity of beach clean events we are putting on further events over the summer. If you would like to take part, please get in touch via email to book a place (places are limited).
- Thursday 24th May: Ovingdean Beach
- Friday 22nd June: Seaford Head Beach
- Friday 3rd August: Worthing Beach
beach clean and litter survey © Miles Davies