Ocean ghosts:

Today I will be looking into one of the biggest killers in our ocean¹.

But before I go on, I’d like you all to watch this video:

Sad isn’t it? We think that once the fish are caught that’s the end of the fishing, but it isn’t. Ghost nets can remain in the water for years, possibly centuries, depending on their design. They don’t just catch fish and sea creatures though, they have occasionally caught divers³ too. The worst is, the more it catches the more that are tempted in, and the nets rarely become too full, as when the weight is too great, they can sink where they’re picked clean by bottom dwellers, and then float back to the surface to repeat the process all over again. The only good news is that the longer the nets are there the more tangled they become which can limit the amount of entanglement they cause². The worse ones are buoy nets as they will definitely float back to the surface.

It isn’t just the organisms they catch but also the habitats they destroy, ghost nets can suffocate coral reefs⁶, which in turn then destroys the ecosystem that they support, breaking down whole food chains and life cycles.

So why do people abandon their nets? Some are simply lost in storms or bad weather, but there are some which when they become damaged are just abandoned where they are⁵. Or there is illegal fishing, snagged lines, there are lots of reasons it happens. But we can limit the issue.

Divers all over the world can take part in ocean cleans, to remove ghost nets, this group work globally with different diving organisations and charities to save our oceans. They don’t just remove the ghost nets though, they collect marine litter, recycle what they collect, document situations and educate, and it all started with a group of wreck divers. So never believe that you and your club couldn’t make a difference.

You don’t just have to be a diver though, snorkelers, boaters, just normal swimmers can help too. But please don’t get yourself injured on the way, make sure you’re in a group and other people know what is happening. If you see a trapped animal make sure you’re not in danger from it.

It’s working too, there is now legislation to try and reduce the amount of ghost nets in the water, new gear has markers so it can be linked to a specific fishing group, there is more technology to prevent gear being lost or from sinking to the seabed. They have even redesigned fishing gear so it degrades easier⁴. New biodegradable fishing nets should begin to degrade within two years⁵, which means after that time the net will have lost most of its ability to catch marine organisms, and if it does the could break free much easier⁵.

Small steps forward to safer healthier oceans, but steps all the same. Why not take part?

Lauren x

References:

  1. Mission blue. (2013) GHOST NETS, AMONG THE GREATEST KILLERS IN OUR OCEANS… http://mission-blue.org/2013/05/ghost-nets-among-the-greatest-killers-in-our-oceans/ (Accessed: 22 February 2016)
  2. Dunagan, C.(2000) The net effect: trouble The Sun, May 4th 2000,
  3. Esteban, M. (2002) Tracking Down Ghost Nets http://www.eurocbc.org/page54.html 21/02/16
  4. Gilman, E. (2015). ‘Status of international monitoring and management of abandoned, lost and discarded fishing gear and ghost fishing‘, Marine Policy, 60, pp. 225-239.
  5. An, H. Kim, S. Kim, P. Lim, J. and Surronen, P. (2016) ‘Use of biodegradable driftnets to prevent ghost fishing: physical properties and fishing performance for yellow croaker’, Animal conservation, pp. 1-11.
  6. Goldberg, J. Gunn, R. Hardesty, B.D. Heathcote, G. Peel, D. and Wilcox, C. (2015) ‘Understanding the sources and effects of abandoned, lost, and discarded fishing gear on marine turtles in northern Australia’, Conservation biology, 29(1), pp. 198-206
  7. Feature image

Marine litter and its cost…

The British coastal holiday market is estimated at £4.7billion annually. This includes another £1.2billion if you include the 110 million day-trippers. The coastal holiday market dominates the local economy of the South West of England, West of Scotland and West Wales.

If a beach is flooded in litter, you’re probably not going to visit that beach are you?

Marine litter can cause beaches to close. This has happened in the US. Consequently, littering is a high-priority issue with coastal local authorities, who may spend a great deal of money clearing litter from their beaches.

Direct costs include collect & disposal of litter a beach + higher/purchase of cleaning equipment. The hidden costs include lost revenue, education, health and harbour costs.

In a survey of 56 coastal Local Authorities, the total cost of beach cleaning was reported to be £1,953,238 for England, Scotland and Wales. This does not represent the total amount of local authorities, which is why total costs will exceed well over £2million.

The problem marine litter causes at a local level:

2 million visitors per year visit Somerset’s resort of Weston-Super-Mare. Tourist trade is worth £14 million per annum to the local economy. The recreational quality of its two beaches are therefore very important to the local community. Weston Beach is mechanically raked and swept once or twice per day in the summer, and is hand-picked in the winter.

The annual cost of cleaning on the two beaches is estimated as £100,000.

Using Marine Litter

Some people think of marine litter as rubbish that can’t be used again. Other people use marine litter to create something that can be used in everyday life. From driftwood mirrors to marine litter guitars, people can create extraordinary things out of ‘rubbish’!

http://marinedebrisart.blogspot.co.uk

All it takes is a bit of imagination, some marine litter, a bit of glue or screws. And you could end up with something like this.

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http://www.dorisbrixham.co.uk

Locally (Devon) we have our own treasure hunter, teacher Louise Slee, who has spent her spare time creating beautiful masterpieces from marine debris found on her local beach. Her work brings great awareness about marine litter too, if you would like to find out more about her work, she runs a Facebook page called Tregantle Beach, Trinkets, Treasures and Trash. A wonderful way to make your beach clean more arty! For more information about setting up a beach clean read our post here.

So the next time you’re walking along a beach and see some litter, take it! Start collecting plastic, wood or even glass. You never know, you could create the next mantelpiece that’s going above your fireplace or even a gift to give someone as a Christmas present.

 

Josh

 

References:

http://www.gov.scot/Uploads/Documents/Impacts%20of%20Marine%20Litter.pdf

KIMO. (2000). Impacts of Marine Debris and Oil: Economic and Social Costs to Coastal Communities (KIMO).ISBN

Rees, Gareth, and Kathy Pond. “Marine Litter Monitoring Programmes—A Review Of Methods With Special Reference To National Surveys”. Marine Pollution Bulletin 30.2 (1995): 103-108. Web.

cdn.notonthehighstreet.com/system/product_images/images/001/116/633/original_rectangular-driftwood-mirror.jpg

I don’t ‘ship’ shipping…

 

Shipping is a huge industry as it’s hugely important for trade between countries – over 90% of global trade is done by cargo ships. With around 50,000 merchant ships it’s no surprise there is an issue with them causing marine pollution issues. If you think that one massive container ship is equal to 50 million cars then you should be able to imagine the huge amount of fumes and other pollutants it must be emitting to the atmosphere and our oceans!

How the ships release pollution:

  • Release of oil and chemicals – ships obviously need oil/petrol to run and many ships also carry oil around as their cargo; this can then be released into the ocean by accidental spills and operational discharges.
  • Release of biocides – antifouling paints (which are used on ship hulls to prevent the build-up of barnacles, algae, sponges, molluscs etc.) generally contain toxic substances; a big concern is tributyltin (TBT) which has been shown to have a damaging effect on the endocrine system – being most problematic in molluscs.
  • Air pollution – the fuel used for ships is basically waste oil, it is very thick and contains a lot of sulfur. Shipping is by far the largest transport polluter of sulfur oxides in world, releasing 20 million tons annually.
  • Waste disposal – garbage and sewage from the ships is often just dumped in the sea; this contributes to the plastic pollution of the oceans as well as eutrophication.
  • Transfer of invasive species – as ships are travelling all over the world they can unintentionally pick up species from one place and carry them to another (generally on their hull or in their ballast water). When new species are introduced to a new environment they can sometimes have a detriment effect and become a pest.
  • Physical damage – from dropping of anchors, dredging, noise and wave disturbance and even the hitting of whales and other marine mammals

 

The distribution of shipping pollution is due to the shipping routes – more damage is detectable in shipping lanes and ports as more ship congestion is found in these places.

 Map of the worlds shipping lanes showing the traffic density:

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Image: Fred Pierce

 

So what can be done to reduce the pollution caused by shipping?

Because the shipping industry is so huge and so important for the economy it’s not really something that can be stopped, however measures can be taken to make sure that it is more environmentally friendly. However, as members of the general public all we can really do is make more people aware of the damage that is currently being caused and thus help to persuade large organisations to make a change to the legislation.

The UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) is basically the rules that all ships on the sea have to apply to:

http://www.un.org/depts/los/convention_agreements/convention_overview_convention.htm

The International Marine Organisation (IMO) is the organisation responsible for the safety and security of shipping and the prevention of marine pollution by ships. You can check out their website for more details on what they do: www.imo.org

Beth x

 

References

Gizmag.com, (2016). Big polluters: one massive container ship equals 50 million cars. [online] Available at: http://www.gizmag.com/shipping-pollution/11526/ [Accessed 19 Feb. 2016].

MNN – Mother Nature Network, (2016). Eniram outsmarts waves to reduce cargo emissions. [online] Available at: http://www.mnn.com/green-tech/research-innovations/blogs/eniram-outsmarts-waves-to-reduce-cargo-emissions [Accessed 19 Feb. 2016].

Network, M. (2011). 8 Ways in which Cruise Ships Can Cause Marine Pollution. [online] Marine Insight. Available at: http://www.marineinsight.com/environment/8-ways-in-which-cruise-ships-can-cause-marine-pollution/ [Accessed 19 Feb. 2016].

Omae, I. (2003). Organotin Antifouling Paints and Their Alternatives. ChemInform, 34(14).

OSPAR Commission, (2010). Releases of anti-fouling chemicals. Assessment of the impact of shipping on the marine environement. [online] Available at: http://qsr2010.ospar.org/media/assessments/p00440_supplements/p00440_suppl_5_release_of_anti-fouling_chemicals.pdf [Accessed 19 Feb. 2016].

Wwf.panda.org, (2016). Marine problems: Shipping. [online] Available at: http://wwf.panda.org/about_our_earth/blue_planet/problems/shipping/ [Accessed 19 Feb. 2016].

Top 10 Marine Charities YOU Can Donate To

  1.  The Ocean Cleanup 

The Ocean Cleanup is a charity that works towards preventing the Great Pacific Garbage Patch from growing any bigger. The ocean gyre is a haven for tonnes upon tonnes of marine litter and it’s a vital cause to support.

2. Ocean Conservancy

Ocean Conservancy have a sustainable vision for a healthy ocean. They use science-based solutions to tackle the biggest threats to our ocean by restoring the gulf, confronting ocean acidification and contributing to trash free seas.

3. Surfers Against Sewage (SAS)

SAS are working at community, corporate and government level to tackle the marine litter crisis; they have a vision to reduce UK beach litter by 50% by 2020. This is a great charity for UK residents to support for a solution closer to home, and they have multiple campaigns within their overall target.

4. Oceana

Oceana’s vision is “to make our oceans as rich, healthy, and abundant as they once were” through fighting against overfishing, marine pollution and destructive fishing processes through identifying practical solutions and making them happen.

5. Greenpeace

Greenpeace are aiming to campaign and create Ocean Sanctuaries that protect several miles of sea, enabling fish to grow bigger, produce more eggs and create a healthier more thriving ocean. They’re also fighting against littering and overfishing.

6. Sailors For The Sea

Sailors For The Sea are passionate sailors that are striving for cleaner, healthier seas, by holding regattas, teaching in the classroom and running awareness campaigns.

7. Sea Shepherd Conservation Society

‘Sea Shepherd uses innovative direct-action tactics to investigate, document, and take action when necessary to expose and confront illegal activities on the high seas. By safeguarding the biodiversity of our delicately balanced ocean ecosystems, Sea Shepherd works to ensure their survival for future generations.’

8. Plastic Pollution Coalition

The Plastic Pollution Coalition urges people to live by the 4 R’s – Refuse, Reuse, Recycle, Reduce. Refuse one use plastics, reuse those plastics that are resuable, recycle and reduce your consumption of plastics. They are fully in support of reducing the amount of plastics in our seas.

9. Sylvia Earle Alliance

The SE Alliance wants to ignite public support for a global network of marine protected areas such as that of Greenpeace.

10. Surfrider Foundation

A non-profit organization working to protect and preserve the world’s oceans by focusing on water quality, coastal ecosystems, beach access, beach and surf spot preservation.

Seren x

Yellow fishes:

Have you ever seen a yellow fish painted next to a drain cover? If so it’s likely a part of the yellow fish campaign. The yellow fish campaign is run in Britain, and involves stencilling a yellow fish symbol next to drains to remind people that any waste entering them may go directly to the nearest open water – causing pollution and killing wildlife.

But we don’t put our rubbish down drains, do we? Well, we do. Litter is easily carried in water or by the wind, any dropped litter can so easily end up down a drain, and where it goes from there so unknown to us. It may go to a treatment plant, or into our waters. When in the water we really have no control over what happens next, oil is one of the biggest issues when in drain water, it doesn’t mix with water, and could potentially cause the suffocation of an entire lake. One litre of oil can pollute one million litres of drinking water⁴, a lot right? So remember only water down the drain. Oil can be recycled at local recycling centres, where it’s possibly used to make biofuel.

It’s believed that 10 % of all plastic debris ends up in the oceans¹, we might try to avoid directly placing debris in our water but, there are lots of drains that lead to water. That’s where the yellow fish campaign comes it, it raises awareness of drains which will go straight into the water works untreated. Some places the yellow fish will also tell you where they enter: beach, river, stream, lake, estuary etc. Marine litter is easily carried to the sea by the rivers².

So what kind of litter is found in these drains, in a survey it was found that 32% were tobacco products, 20% were plastic, 16% confectionary products, 16% paper, 9% glass, 4% metal, and 3% unclassified³. But Tobacco products aren’t that bad are they? 4.5 trillion cigarette butts enter the environment every year. Sadly, they will become more toxic as the filter will collect different chemicals found in the water, before some unsuspecting animal or child eats them by mistake.

But the yellow fish campaign is here to change that. It’s raising awareness of what we are doing to our waters, and it’s so simple to get involved!

As the campaign is run completely by volunteers you can do the project whenever you like. All you need to do is stencil a yellow fish next to surface water drains. To do this you do require the permission of the owner of the drain, on public land this will be your local highways department. You could also create leaflets to spread the word to your wider community.

Businesses can get involved too! Why not have your shop or development, more environmentally friendly and educate people too. Improve your environment to improve your profit, sounds good to me for just adding a simple yellow fish.

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For more information about how to get involved in England click here.

 

Lauren x

 

References:

  1. Thompson RC, Olsen Y, Mitchell RP, Davis A, Rowland SJ, John AW, McGonigle D, Russell AE (2004). Lost at sea: where is all the plastic? Science, 304, 838.
  2. Sadri, SS, & Thompson, RC (2014) On the quantity and composition of floating plastic debris entering and leaving the Tamar Estuary, Southwest England. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 81, 55–60.
  3. KAB, (2009) National Visible Litter Survey and Litter Cost Study. Keep America Beautiful, Inc. <www.kab.org/site/DocServer/Final_KAB_Report_9-18-09.pdf> accessed: 20/02/16
  4. Ashworth M, (2012) Yellow fish guidance manual [manual obtained in Exeter branch] 19/02/16

What can YOU do?

With a blog filled to the brim with information on marine pollution and individual solutions, how can we make a real, active change? It’s all well and good to do our bit little by little, and it’s a real positive start, but why don’t we inspire and motivate eachother to do more? It could be a few hours actively working at the weekend or sharing information amongst friends. Whatever it is, we can and we should help.

So, where can we start?

  1. A beach clean up!

It’s no doubt that everyone loves a good trip to the beach, so why not make it into a trip of being constructive? A popular destination amongst millions of people, beaches can become dump sites. Think about people leaving picnics behind, plastic packaging,  bags, cigarette ends – the list is endless! Beach clean ups are actually quite a popular idea – all you do is gather a bunch of people to visit your local beach and pick up all the litter. The more the merrier  – afterall, the more people that go, the quicker the job is done! This is a really small yet positive step in the right direction of clearing our seas of litter. Why not check out this  guide?

2. Reuse, Reduce, Recycle.

It’s been found that over 80% of marine pollution originates from land, therefore making humans directly responsible. The more rubbish we put into our bins instead of our recycling means that we’re putting more rubbish into our oceans. We personally can easily change this by simply recycling. For example, reusing plastic bags, composting food scraps and recycling glass, plastic, paper, and cans.The more we recycle means the more rubbish that is out of our bins and out of our oceans. Read here for more information.

3. Protect Our Drains.

By protecting our stormwater drains we can make a huge difference in preventing marine pollution. This is because stormwater drains collect and remove rainwater from our streets, so when rubbish is washed into our drains, it flows straight into our rivers and streams, thus flowing into the ocean! We can easily prevent this by not littering in our roads, because everything we throw onto the road will most likely end up in our seas. For example, cigarette butts, oil from cars, pieces of plastics and other bits of rubbish are the most common pieces of litter transported through stormwater drains, and these endlessly pollute our seas. If we refrain from littering and maintain our vehicles in the correct way, then we can easily prevent this from happening!

4. Support Ocean Charities

Quite easily the simplest one of them all, you can easily support a marine charity from the comfort of your own home! There are plenty out there trying to keep our seas clean such as Marine Conservation Society, Sea Life Trust, Oceana, SeaBin, Ocean Conservancy and so many more! Supporting one of these organisations can help towards making our oceans a safer, cleaner and healthier place.

Seren.

Marine litter and its effect on people:

An estimated eight million individual pieces of litter debris enter our oceans every day! That’s over 6 million tonnes of litter entering our oceans every year, which is the equivalent to the weight of 1 million elephants. Blows my mind every time I think about it.

This astonishing amount of litter risks the lives of 177 species of reptiles, mammals and fish. Every time you leave one piece of litter on the beach you could be killing organism after organism. Marine litter takes about 50 years before it washes from the coast to the gyres where it will remain until it degrades – that’s if it ever breaks down.

Plastic litter on beaches has increased 140% since 1994.

140%, but as mentioned in a previous post, beaches only receive 15% of litter that enter the oceans. Consider how dire our situation is if we don’t change now, as it isn’t just the marine mammals in danger. There are over 1 million sea bird deaths each year due to marine litter, but it’s not just the reptiles, birds, mammals and fish that are being affected. This is a much larger scale issue.

Cigarettes – 4.5 trillion cigarette butts enter the environment every year.

When cigarettes are wet they release toxic chemicals and obviously some will end up on our beaches, slowly poisoning the sand, and then when they break down into their fibres, they are often eaten by marine organisms, which can choke them or cause starvation.

Local Authorities in the UK spend approximately £18 million each year removing beach litter, which represents a 37% increase in cost over the past 10 years.

We are causing beaches to become flooded with litter. It doesn’t just make the beach unsightly, but it can potentially cause injury to people. Debris like medical waste (syringes), broken glass and rusty metals are washed up and are waiting for someone to step on. This is an obvious health risk and also has a negative effect of the aesthetic value of the coastline and beaches, so tourists and residents are willing to pay less to visit, or stop visiting all together. The service value of the area also significantly reduces, which will affect communities which rely on the tourism and income of tourists.

Scottish fishing vessels survey – 86% restricted catch due to marine litter, 82% had catch contaminated 95% snagged gear on debris in water.

Approx. 58% of marine litter is attributed to shoreline and recreational activities. That drops the responsibility to us – we can’t continue to pass the blame for our beaches to industry or government – the faulty primarily stops with us and what we do. Sad, isn’t it? We are destroying something we enjoy so much.

In the UK many SCUBA divers will carry knifes with them or know someone who does as it’s known for divers to become caught in rope, fishing line, plastics, and be unable to become free, leading to a risk that people will drown. The fact is that our littering can risk lives and kill people. According to the British Sub-Aqua Club, approximately one or two entanglement incidents occur each year in the UK and are potentially life-threatening, usually involving monofilament netting. Swimmers, surfers and anyone else who enters the water are also at risk. Boats can also become entangled in rope, causing boating accidents with many smaller vesicles propellers becoming damaged when hit with marine litter.

70% of ports and marinas in the UK have reported users experiencing incidents involving litter.

Water at public swimming spots is being cleaner every year in the UK. However, some of Britain’s best known beaches were set to fail new EU standards in 2015. But in the year before the government were able to plan and improve the water quality by changing drainage systems and removing litter. 97% of the UKs beaches were able to meet new tighter regulations. Why can’t we work this hard when it’s not a regulation in place? Why should it take the risk of losing our public beaches for us to act to save them?

 

Josh 🙂

 

References:

www.sas.org.uk/issues/marine-litter/

Feature image

Reduce, reuse, revive our oceans:

Prevention rather than cure. If we can’t stop the amount of litter entering our oceans, we can at least try and reduce it. Here we will look at ways which you can do just that from the comfort of your own home. Recycling and reusing items is one of the easiest ways you can help the ocean without leaving your own home. Even if you are completely landlocked your actions can still make a difference.

Some ocean friendly choices are:

  • Use bags for life instead of normal plastic bags:

A plastic bag can take between 150 years to over 1,000 years before it degrades. However it doesn’t biodegrade, it’s broken down by light into tiny little fragments of plastic, which are toxic – these are known as microplastics. In relation to the ocean, an estimated 1,o00,000 birds, 100,000 turtles, and countless other sea organisms die each year from ingesting plastic, according to Greenpeace. They easily mistake plastic bags for jellyfish and other edible sea creatures. Having a reusable carrier bag would prevent even more plastic entering our oceans.

  • Recycle:

Recycling 14 trees worth of paper reduces air pollutants by 165,142 tons. I know we’re discussing marine pollution, however ocean acidification is caused by the uptake of CO2 from the atmosphere and recycling could potentially slow the rate of coral bleaching and save calcified organisms.

The dumping of used plastic destroys sea life at an estimated 1,000,000 sea creatures per year! Glass and plastic take the longest to degrade, but are completely recyclable, which is why it’s important we recycle them. It’s believed that 60%-70% of rubbish we put in our bins could have been recycled instead. Recycling doesn’t just reduce the amount of waste entering the ocean, it also reducing the amount of power we use. Theoretically, we could hit two birds with one stone. When we produce aluminum products from virgin metal it consumes close to 100 times the power required to recycle aluminum. In the UK an estimated 70% of our energy comes from non-renewable energy sources, if we use less energy we will lower the amount of air pollution, which I’ve already mentioned has horrific effects for our oceans.

  • Food scraps to compost:

In 2009 it was found that an estimated 25% of food bought by households was thrown away. Food waste contains Nitrogen and Phosphorous which when in water can lead to eutrophication and algae blooms.

By collecting your food waste and using it to produce compost you are reducing your rubbish and making compost which can be used instead of artificial fertilizers.

Some easy steps for setting up a home compost:

  1. A home compost bin should be at least 1 metre cubed, with a lid to prevent rain entering. Some local councils sell them at reduced rates.
  2. Ideally site your compost bin in a reasonably sunny site on bare soil.
  3. Bottomless bins are better as the allow earthworms to enter and speed up the process.
  4. Lot’s of food waste can be used to make compost, except: meat/fish products, dairy products, grease/oil or bones.
  5. The smaller your scraps are cut the quicker then can decompose.
  6. You can compost: peelings, egg shells, hair, small amounts of paper/softcard, plants, and tea/coffee particles.
  7. Keep filling it!
  8. Composting can take weeks or months depending on how much air and moisture are present,
  9. The compost is ready to use when it is crumbly in appearance and has a slightly earthy smell.
  10. Spread away!

Compost is great for the environment and great for you, it’s free to make and replaces somewhat expensive fertilizer and shop bought compost.

  • Purchase items with minimum packaging:

When you go into a supermarket, it’s likely you will see more packaging that you will food. I know I do! Apple surrounded in styrofoam holders swarming with plastic wrapping, bread suffocating in plastic bags. To reduce your waste and plastic usage try and purchase items which come with less packaging, or at least recyclable packaging. Most plastic can be recycled but make sure to read the package, or look for the recyclable symbol. Styrofoam isn’t recyclable and can take over 500 years before usually begins to break down. In the ocean styrofoam is often mistake for food and eaten; when inside the organism it blocks the digestive tract and the organism will usually starve and thus die.

On a positive note, we are making a difference – we are increasing the amout of power we receive from renewable sources; we are also reducing the amount of plastic we use. We’re moving forwards to a brighter future – one with a healthier ocean.

I hope these tips have given you a few ideas to help you lead a greener life, and to know that no matter how far away from the coast you are, you matter to it.

Lauren 🙂

 

References:

recycling statistics

 

 

 

 

 

There are nearly 2,500 items of rubbish for every kilometre on a beach.

 

There are nearly 2,500 items of rubbish for every kilometre on a beach.

Shocking right?

The height of British summer time is plagued by our rubbish. But all’s not lost, yet. All around the world there are developments to limit the amount of litter entering our coastlines. But what about us? What can we do?

There are hundreds if not thousands of litter picks taking place across the country. Get involved! Even if there isn’t one running in your local area, you can start one. There are so many simple things you could do.

Day at the beach: make sure you take your litter with you, or dispose of it in the correct facilities.

Talk to your children: Explain to them in simple terms the effects of their litter, I’ve linked a helpful site with ways to discuss the situation with young children.

If you decide to go litter picking please make sure you take the right precautions, gloves should be worn at all times and any items collected safely disposed of and any children taking part should be correctly supervised.

Individuals, groups or communities can take part in cleaning up the beaches. There are many different charities and organisations arranging clean ups on community beaches. I will be discussing one charity and their goals towards cleaning our beaches.

Surfers against Sewage are working to deal with the marine litter crisis; they work with communities, government and corporations. They have four main aims:

  • Stopping marine litter at source – preventing it entering the environment in the first place
  • Creating a circular economy through extended producer responsibility and greater corporate accountability
  • Creating new legislation to protect the coastal environment from marine litter
  • Dramatically up-scaling marine litter education and volunteering opportunities amongst coastal communities and the general public.

They annually aim to have 10,000 community beach clean ups; they also have many different campaigns to tidy our beaches for me and you.

In 2014 Surfers against Sewage (SAS) organised 335 beach clean-ups and received over nine thousand volunteers. Their goal is to have reduced litter on UK beaches by 50% by 2020, a goal which is easily reachable if we all work together and volunteer. There is an estimated 41,146,380 pieces of marine litter on the British coast line. Sounds like an impossible goal, huh?

Actually, in 2014 SAS collected almost 60 tonnes of litter. Anyone can make a difference!

Community leaders can organise their own SAS beach clean-up under SAS’s public liability insurance – they have a simple step by step guide for you.

To learn more about SAS litter picks and how you can organise your own please click the link below:

SAS beach clean campaign

Lauren 🙂