A massive thank you to our brilliant band of beach clean volunteers for braving the rain to help us remove litter from our adopted stretch of Southwold beach for our 'summer' beach clean last Saturday.
43 adults and 8 children battled the wind and rain to remove the danger to wildlife and people that litter poses. We've been cleaning Southwold beach at least three times a year since 2003, and although we've lost count a bit as we missed a couple and then added in a few more, we reckon this must be about our 50th clean.
Our 'summer' clean was probably our wettest clean ever and despite some very damp survey forms, we still managed to record what we found on the first 100m stretch. This data contributes to the Marine Conservation Society's Beach Watch Survey which records the type and quantity of litter found across the UK. In total, we collected about 5 full sacks of rubbish, around 40kg-worth. Over the first 100m, we collected 183 pieces of litter, the overwhelming majority (over 70%) was plastic.
Amongst this year's finds were a pair of flip flops (nothing surprising about this on the beach, perhaps, except that it was a whole pair!), another large, heavy, piece of fabric of exactly the same type as the item we found back in March, and an empty Adnams bottle dating from the 70s. This bottle hadn't been in the sea, it was hidden in a bush amongst the sand dunes.
We've put together a chart looking at the amount of litter we're finding since 2013 (the blue line indicates the number of pieces per volunteer/ per 100m). The general trend for Southwold is looking good, but it could be that more and more people are picking up litter as part of their daily routine. However, a downward-trend is definitely positive.
At the end of the clean, the heavens opened, and our volunteers arrived at The Harbour Inn soaked but were rewarded with hot chocolates and pints of Broadside.
A big thanks as always to every volunteer. We look forward to seeing you in September for the Marine Conservation Society's Great British Beach Clean.