After it’s been put off for so long because of Covid restrictions, we have finally done our very first beach clean in cooperation with the Marine Conservation Society. And we’re proud to say: It was SUCH a success! During our beach clean we removed a whopping 592 pieces of litter from Bridlington beach. That’s 167 pieces above the national average which currently lies at 425 pieces of litter per 100m stretch of beach.
The graphic below gives you a bit of an overview of the most popular offenders that we could identify during our beach clean. As you can see, 180 of the 592 pieces of litter we have collected are small pieces of plastic. These are particularly bad for marine life and birds as they often get mistaken for prey and swallowed. Especially if they’re brightly coloured! Next to small pieces of plastic, fishing net and crisps & sweet wrappers were second and third in the race. Not that that’s something to be proud of. However, can you imagine that you could still read everything on some of the crisp packets we found even though their expiry date was somewhere in the 1980s? Yeah, we were equally as shocked!
Matt Barnes, who is the Volunteer & Community Engagement Manager at the Marine Conservation Society had some nice words about us: “A huge thanks to all the team that helped spruce up Bridlington Foreshore last week, we collected a significant amount of small litter and microplastics which animals often confuse with their typical prey source and ingest to their detriment. Many hands make light work, and the team did a sterling job of mitigating these pervasive pollutants from the beach.” (We’re totally blushing!)
Why are we doing this, though?
You likely already know that we’re all about the environment here at OVIO. And so we believe that we have an ethical responsibility to be as environmentally conscious as we can be. And if that means grabbing a litter picker and spending a day at the beach, we’re obviously in!
Has the Marine Conservation Society been doing this for long?
Yes! Volunteers and employees of the Marine Conservation Society have been involved in beach cleans for nearly 30 years. You can imagine how much litter has been picked during that time. It’s not just about cleaning the beaches, though. By picking up the litter, they’re also collecting super valuable data that can then be used to influence changes in legislation and industry practice to reduce the overall impact on our seas & oceans. For example, the data they gathered over the years has directly influenced the UK’s decision to introduce a charge for plastic shopping bags in 2015 as well as the ban of the use of microplastics in cosmetics in 2018. And so we feel twice as good about our beach clean knowing that the litter we collected was also recorded and will contribute to positive change in the future.
Here’s how you can support MSC
If you’re not familiar with the Marine Conservation Society, it’s a UK based charity that has been fighting for cleaner, better protected, and healthier oceans since 1983. If you want to know more about them or how you can get involved, visit their website below.