One hundred and eight volunteers collected over a hundred bags of litter and micro-plastics
The Final Straw Solent was thrilled to welcome a hundred and eight amazing volunteers from all areas of the Solent to their fourth big beach clean at the Ferry Boat Inn, Hayling Island on Friday, 4th May, was held in conjunction with Surfers Against Sewage. Volunteers came ready for action, armed with litter pickers and gloves ready to make a difference to this beautiful length of coast line. Friends and family, young and old, helped to remove a huge amount of litter and plastic debris on the beach front. What they collected was shocking.
Recent reports had suggested that the area had high levels of micro-plastic, small fragments and pieces of plastic less than 5mm long that are often the result of large pieces of plastic that have been broken up.
The campaign also expected to see lots of ‘Nurdles’ - tiny bits of plastic, about the size of a lentil, that are used in the manufacture of plastic items and get washed out of factories into sewers. Collecting these tiny pieces of plastic is important work, but it is not an easy task.
The volunteers spread out with their purple bin bags and started collecting as much of the plastic as they could. It was an inspiring sight, just having people together walking the beach and collecting rubbish was fantastic and great for raising awareness of the issue. It became apparent early on that collecting all these tiny pieces by hand was not going to make a significant difference to this area due to the vast amounts of Nurdles present in the seaweed and sand.
After consulting with David Jones, founder of Just One Ocean and photographer and advisor to the critically acclaimed film 'A Plastic Ocean', the team decided that the best way to remove the Nurdles was to start shovelling. It was back-breaking work, but the only way to remove the huge amounts of micro-plastic and Nurdles in some areas. Bag after bag was collected and it still was heart-breaking how much was left behind. In the end over 100 bags of rubbish were collected off this beautiful beach. Over 100 bags of litter and micro plastics that are safely removed and can not cause any damage to our local wildlife. In fact, there were so many bags that the amazing team at Norse SE had to do two runs to remove them all!
Bianca Carr, Final Straw Solent Founder, was thrilled with the turn-out. “This has been such an inspiring event. The sheer volume of micro-plastics that we have found is galling, however we have made a big impact on this section of beach today. There is much more to be done and we will be back here for more clean-ups in the near future. There have been so many families with young children all getting stuck-in to the clean-up today, it’s really uplifting. We’ve all just got to do what we can to help, both with clean-ups and with reducing the amount of plastic waste we create at home – it’s all about awareness and making environmentally sensitive choices. We are really grateful to everyone that has come to help today, great work guys!”.
The team at the Final Straw Solent would like to thank all of the volunteers that came along to the event - the local support has been incredible – and also Norse for their generous donation of litter pickers, gloves, bags and help, the Meridian Centre at Havant for storing much of this essential gear, Havant Borough Council for their continued support and Solent Sky Services for their fantastic photos.