I have been taking part in, organizing and coordinating beach cleans for over 7 years now, my actions are a direct result of what i see on a daily basis; more and more rubbish ending up around our coastline. Having spent a reasonable amount of time frequenting some of the most remote Scottish beaches and coastal areas, i simply do not remember the last time i visited a beach that was rubbish free.
Just over a month ago i held a beach clean in Ullapool, this clean was just one of the 487 beaches, rivers & lakes that were tackled as part of the Surfers Against Sewage Autumn Clean Series. This year an incredible 21,200 volunteers took part in autumn cleans across the UK, removing a staggering 35.9 tonnes of marine plastic pollution, as well as other rubbish such as metal oil drums, tin cans and car parts!
The increased awareness amongst the public led to 100 more cleans in 2018 than at the same time last year. This increase in support was mirrored by the doubling of volunteers taking part in the Marine Conservation Societies ‘Great British Beach Clean’, this year when compared to 2017.
When i first started beach cleaning the objective would be to just pick up as much as you can and get it off the beach, whilst this is still a primary focus, cleans now endeavour to document the type and size of particular items. This helps to inform governments and provide much needed data to direct policy and look at longer-term solutions within industry, manufacturing and recycling.
A huge thankyou to everyone who took part in this years cleans, we had a truly international effort with volunteers from Canada, Lithuania & Slovenia who were visiting this area during the clean and kindly volunteered their time. As well as plenty of local support within the community here in Ullapool.