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What a load of rubbish...

By Benedict Orchard, also posted in News on

Brilliant community volunteers turn out in force for the Adnams Southwold spring beach clean

Since taking on the organisation of the Adnams beach cleans five years ago, I've seen more and more of you help Adnams make Southwold beach even cleaner, and I was content in having done my job when we broke the 100-volunteer mark in 2017. It turns out we just needed a little help from our friend David Attenborough to really see an explosion of interest; cue October 2017 and the release of Blue Planet II, and to date the world is seeing action on litter, ocean waste and plastics in unprecedented formats. It’s incredible to witness wide-reaching action on the issue, so it’s brilliant that we've seen our beach clean volunteer numbers rise hugely.

Thanks to 162 volunteers!

Thank you so much to the 162 incredibly passionate volunteers, including 28 children, who joined us on Saturday 24th March. One of the highlights of the day was the commitment of six kids who collected a gigantic fishing net from near the start and dragged it all the way to the van at the end. The recent bad weather seen recently (Storm Eleanor, Storm David, Storm Georgina, the ‘Beast from the East’) turned Southwold beach into what looked like the local dumping ground for ocean litter.

High tides, and high energy waves, brought in an abundance of debris. It was so sad to see it there but heartening at the same time to see the sheer determination and desire of everyone to remove it. Our volunteers collected 108 bags of rubbish, plus an equivalent amount of large waste, too big for sacks, including broken pallets, fishing nets, rope, fish trays, plastic water drums. This was so much rubbish it took two completely full van-loads to remove it all at the end, then it was on to The Harbour Inn for a well-deserved pint at the end of the clean.

One of the reasons we’ve been cleaning our bit of Southwold Beach (between Gunhill and the Harbour; known as The Denes) since 2003, is to provide data for the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) for their continual beach litter trend analysis. It was of no surprise that we collected the most ever rubbish this time around, finding over 6,000 pieces of litter over the 1km stretch. This is 60% more litter than we found last time we went out and cleaned in September 2017.

80% of the litter was plastics (including fishing nets) with the proportion associated to shipping and fishing the highest we’ve seen. Amongst all of this, we did find some quirky items, including a plastic dolphin, plastic shell and a toy plastic pig.

Our next beach clean will be during the summer season (likely June), with a final date yet to be confirmed. If you would like to register an interest in our beach cleans in the meantime just drop me an e-mail: benedict.orchard@adnams.co.uk. Once again, big thanks to all of our volunteers who make such a difference.

Keep on cleaning, don’t let the global momentum stop!

Download our Spring Beach Clean infographic here.  

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Benedict Orchard

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