On the morning of Friday 11th. May about thirty people came along to Sandylands at Morecambe to help clear and record items of litter from a long stretch of the beach. The event was organised by the Marine Conservation Society and sponsored by Marks and Spencer as part of the Big Beach Watch weekend with similar events taking place all around the UK. After collecting the obvious items, bottles, drinks cans and all manner of items made from plastic attention turned to the large sea defence boulders at the top of the beach. It was from here that the bulk of the litter came, mostly in the form of rope, fishing net and plastic strapping band which filled a large number of plastic sacks. Marine litter is a massive problem, not only around the UK, but world wide. It is estimated that there are 46,000 pieces of plastic in every square mile in the world’s oceans. Marine litter is an eyesore, it costs everyone money to remove it and also the cost to the local economy, its a health hazard to both wildlife and human beings alike. Discarded plastic can be regarded as the major pollution problem of the 21st century both at sea and on the land. After a snack lunch provided by M&S a small group enjoyed a walk along the shore at Half Moon Bay, Heysham organised by Lancs. Local MCS Group where we spent an hour or so looking at the many different plants and animals to be found there. The next beach clean/litter survey will take place at Half Moon Bay, Heysham on Saturday 16th. June at 12.00hrs. If possible please come along and help to combat this massive marine litter problem, it will be an hour well spent.
Archive for the ‘Beach Clean’ Category
Very well done to everyone that turned up at Half Moon Bay, Heysham on Sunday 16th. Jan. to take part in the winter beach litter survey. The forecast for the weekend was very wet and windy, and sure enough the forecast was correct on Sunday morning, extremely wet. Wind and rain are not the ideal conditions for filling in recording sheets or managing flapping plastic collecting bags. The rain did ease a little whilst we were on the beach which was a help and the survey was completed successfully albeit with soggy recording sheets to decipher in the comfort of a motor car.
A big thank you to everyone who turned out on Sunday – unfortunately an inch of snow on the beach made it impractical to do any beach cleaning! We’ll re-schedule in January…
Members of the Group joined forces with members of the Morecambe & Heysham Soroptomists organisation on Saturday 18th. September to conduct a beach clean and litter survey at Half Moon Bay, Heysham. The survey was part of a National survey of beach litter organised by the Marine Conservation Society over the weekend 18/19th. Sept. This annual event attracts thousands of volunteers to clean and record the litter on hundreds of beaches all around the UK coast. Litter on Britain’s beaches has more than doubled since the surveys began in the early 1990′s. Most items of litter recorded , in excess of 60% are made from plastic and in the region of 40% of the litter is left by visitors who come to enjoy the beach. We hold quarterly litter surveys at Half Moon Bay, Heysham, the next one will be on Sunday 19th. December 2010 at11.30am. Why not come along and help?
Photo. images by kind permission of Christine Fletcher.
Studies on beach sands around Lake Michigan and Lake Superior in the USA have shown that beach sands are an important refuge for E. coli, and concentrations of the bacteria in the sand may be many times greater than that in the water, and persist for considerable periods of time. Scientists estimate that between 10 and 30 people per thousand are in danger of stomach upsets if they eat after playing in the sand without cleaning their hands – simply rinsing reduces the danger dramatically, though scrubbing with soap is best.
Frustratingly these studies refer to fresh water lakes, and it is not clear whether or not the same might be true of sea-water bathing beaches. Still, it is clearly advisable to follow your mother’s advice and always wash your hands before eating!
United States Geological Survey (2009, August 12). What Science Says About Beach Sand And Stomach Aches. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 13, 2009.
American Chemical Society (2007, May 29). Beach Sand May Harbor Disease-causing E. Coli Bacteria. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 13, 2009.
The excellent BBC television news reports recently from Midway Island in the Pacific graphicllay outlined the problems and dangers to marine life caused by the massive amounts of plastic in the marine environment. it did however lead some people to believe that that is where all the rubbish in the sea ends up.
It would be very good if the BBC could run a similar series of reports around the coastline of the UK to coincide with the launch of the Beachwatch 2007 report on Thursday the 10th. April 2008.
This would show that unfortunately we have a similar amount of plastic waste in the seas around our shores and on our beaches as anywhere else in the world.
Surveys by volunteers has shown an increase in beach litter of almost 100% since 1994, over 50% of this is made up of plastic.
As well as the hazard caused to marine life and birds by ingestion and entanglement, beach litter costs thousands of pounds each year to clean up, do you want to sit on a dirty beach ?
It can create a major health hazard to people and spoils the beauty of some of our wonderful coasatal locations.
Look out on Thursday 10th April in the press and media when the Marine Conservation Society will launch Beachwatch report 2007, an extremely thought provoking overview of the massive marine
litter problem in our coastal waters.
If you would like to help combat the problem, why not join the Lancashire Area Group of the Marine Conservation Society on a litter survey on Sunday 27th April 2008 at Half Moon Bay, Heysham. Further details of this event are on the diary page of our website.
Back in June we did a cleanup along the shore of the Lune in Lancaster, in conjunction with the Lancaster Maritime Museum, as part of their “Worse Things Happen at Sea” event.
Six of us (and Cassie the dog) spent three hours picking up litter from above the tideline on the Lune bank opposite the Maritime Museum, and over all we picked up 8 bags of rubbish and some items too large to fit in bags.
While we didn’t weigh and classify the rubbish that we collected as we would on one of our quarterly beach cleans, it was obvious that nearly all of it came from people throwing drinks bottles and fast food wrappers away as they walked back along the river from the city centre. This is not surprising when you consider that there are no litter bins along that length (about a mile).
Other very sad things that we found included discarded jewellery boxes, presumably from robberies, some syringes, and a number of children’s toys.
On a positive note, you could see clearly where we had cleaned- it did make a difference!
If you’re interested in coming along on our quarterly beach cleans, do get in touch with us as extra hands are always really handy.