THE FINAL STRAW: GREAT BRITISH BEACH CLEAN.
The Great British Beach Clean is a time when we can all come together in the UK to make a difference and protect our marine life, by preventing plastic and hazardous items entering our oceans.
The Marine Conservation Society (MCS) are in their 25th year of ‘The GBBC’ – the charity brings people together to make a difference. Through their website they offer the option to volunteer or organise your own beach clean event. You can search local beaches or a beach you’d like to visit and see if there are any organised beach cleans for you to join, alternatively you can take action and arrange one at your chosen location.
To date MCS beach cleans have removed a staggering 6 million pieces of litter – now how amazing is that! With 7,000 people taking part in the 2017 beach clean across more than 339 beaches, the collected total of litter reached 255,209 pieces. This year the charity aimed to have 500 beaches cleaned over the September weekend.
Why is beach cleaning important?
Collectively we need to start taking serious action to protect our oceans and coastlines. Litter and plastic pollution are impacting our marine and bird life. Fish are mistaking small plastics such as bottle caps to be food, turtles are mistaking plastic bags for jellyfish consuming them in whole, causing blockages inside their bodies slowly stopping the animals from being able to eat, birds are also affected by getting entangled in the litter. The plastic and litter in our oceans are not only impacting the bird and marine life but also people, with damage to the tourism and fishing industries.
The beach cleans are so important as you can see from the image on the left if we do not do our bit this side of the ocean it has a devastating impact on many beaches overseas.
If that’s not enough, this also has a harrowing effect on us too – we are consuming the fish that have been exposed to the tainted waters caught with the plastics inside them – passing the problem back up the food chain to us.
If you did not manage to make the beach clean weekend in September, don’t worry you can always arrange your own or simply head to the beach with a bag (for life) – every little helps.
GBBC weekend is certainly great for highlighting the issue of pollution and litter on our beaches however we should be continuously caring for our shores all year round. Simply taking a bag with you on a walk and picking up any litter you may come across makes a positive difference, and it goes without saying, but taking your litter with you wherever you may be! We should pride ourselves on the environment that we are surrounded by and the beauty within it, continuously working towards a cleaner environment not only for the animals and marine life but for us as a society. Let us make a difference, together.