On Sunday morning it was raining, so Jane was continually checking her phone. She was looking to see what the weather was going to do in the afternoon as the Rossall Beach Group held the Marine conservation Society’s big national beach cleaning event.
It takes place every September where volunteers come beach cleaning all over the country, some with a clipboard and pencil to record and tick off what they find on the list. It’s a standard one, printed off by all the groups, to see just what is coming out of our seas. It makes fascinating reading as it is unbelievable what we do see washed up on our beaches. The top beach cleaning finds are usually cotton buds, wet wipes and bottle tops by the thousands.
Beach Cleaning is much more fun in the sun!
Anyway, I’m veering off my story again and back to the morning. After an awful lot of rain in the night and the morning and with the weathermen giving out all week that we were in for rain all day Sunday, our hearts kept sinking more and more at each forecast. Having said that people will still come, even if it’s raining cats and dogs, but beach cleaning is so much more enjoyable when the sun is out, I’m sure you’ll agree!
Sunday morning brought our usual round of housework which is always the norm in our house at the weekends. This was interrupted by Jane who kept appearing and saying ‘it’s going to clear up, it’s going to be sunny from 1pm onwards’. This went on for some time and you couldn’t shake her optimism at all. We had our lunch and Jane shot off to join the rest of the gang who were there early to get sorted out. Jim was there with his tombola stand which he always does. It wouldn’t be the same without his cheery face dragging his customers in to see if they could win a bottle of wine! He certainly did well to boost our funds I must say. Kevin was working in the office while I tidied up after lunch and got ready to go and meet them all at the notice board.
Breaking Beach Cleaning Records
I had seen from my windows that there seemed to be a lot of people there and would you believe, 169 people turned up. Another 30 came after the group photo at the top of the page was taken!
We were flabbergasted at the number of people who came to help. The results of the survey which takes place all over England, sees what is coming out of the sea, and which kills ocean life and sea birds. By the time I got there, there were volunteers beach cleaning from one end to the other, which was truly wonderful.
To think that so many people were prepared to give their Sunday afternoon up to come and take part in the day was fantastic. I can’t remember the exact amount of sacks that were collected and weighed but there were an awful lot on the prom by the time they’d finished. I’m sure Jane will put the amount in (178 sacks and 282kgs of rubbish + big pieces of plastic) to show you just how much is washed up from other places, especially Blackpool. Their beach often looks litter free and that is because it all gets washed from there to us, unfortunately.
Good timing for beach cleaning
When the wind starts up like it did this week, you can guarantee that the beach will be a right old mess with everything and its aunty washed up. Large plastic boxes, buckets galore, spades, buckets that have been left on the beach in Blackpool and all the rest. On Saturday we went for a walk on the prom and there was more plastic and rubbish than we’ve seen for a long time. So you could say it was good timing for the beach cleaning!
It’s shameful the way that people simply refuse to stop throwing litter down anywhere that they want to. Goodness knows what the answer is because I don’t. It doesn’t matter how much you drone on about it, deaf ears are turned. Maybe if they all came and picked litter up for a day they would change their minds!
As they do every year for this special beach cleaning session, Rossall School turned up at the end with tea and coffee plus biscuits for the beach cleaners which was very welcome I might tell you. The sun shone its head off all afternoon which was even better and with people coming off the beach saying that they had enjoyed their afternoon litter picking, it makes it all worthwhile.
Then a nice end to the afternoon
When our Secretary reported the results of our efforts to the Marine Conservation Society, the lady he spoke to nearly fell of her chair when he told her how many people had attended. Her first question was how did you manage to organise all of those people! That’s the problem, even though people were asked to register with MCS you never know what’s going to happen until it’s happening!
Our group of trusty reliable members and trustees worked hard to set things up and prevent chaos. It was a job well done and after all was tidy and cleared away, those who could make it trooped off to the Venue for our tea to finish the day off nicely.
It was a lovely afternoon with all my friends who I wouldn’t be without might I add. We had lots of laughs too which is just the point, to go and enjoy what you are doing together.
The rub is that we’re forecast gales and strong winds this week so the beach will be full of rubbish again. You just can’t win can you. I keep telling myself what the beach used to look like when no one litter picked at all, and a right mess it was too. The beach would be covered from end to end, and I mean covered, if people didn’t give their time up to go beach cleaning. They make our beach the amazing place it is to come and spend leisure time. So, well done to another successful MCS beach clean, and may the legacy carry on.
Why don’t you join in?
Members of the Rossall Beach Group litterpick all year round at the regular monthly community clean-ups. They also work with schools and groups to spread the message that we should all look after the marine environment. We can all make a difference even in the things that we do at home, by being responsible about how we dispose of rubbish and what we put down our drains. Clearly the message about plastics in a marine environment is being heard, after years of campaigning by groups such as this, and of course helped by Blue Planet II.
The next monthly meeting will be interesting to people who helped out at the beach clean. We’ll be hearing from an expert at Blackpool based DPA Packaging, talking about what the industry is doing to reduce waste at source, and how to make informed choices when we buy products. Meet at Cleveleys Community Centre on Beach Road, 6pm on 26 September, everyone welcome.
Find out More
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