Surfers Against Sewage Beach Cleanup

Many of us living in on the South Coast venture to the beach regularly to enjoy its spectacular views, to relax, or exercise, but often it can be easy to take the cleanliness of our waters and the lack of litter on our beaches for granted, forgetting to stop and think who is actually responsible for this. Local councils do a fantastic job keeping our beaches clean, but it’s also organisations of volunteers that play a huge part in keeping our coastline looking beautiful and our seas as clear as possible.

Surfers Against Sewage is one such organisation. Friends of Kitvision, we invited Ally, a Regional Representative for SAS to be a guest blogger and tell us a little more about what they do to help keep our coastline not only pristine, but safer for all the people and animals that enjoy it.

* Photo Credits: Dan Clifton

Hi I’m Ally . . . I am a South Coast Regional Rep for Surfers Against Sewage and I wanted to take this opportunity to introduce myself, and talk about the work we do to protect our oceans, waves, and beaches for everyone. Gone are the days SAS was just about surfers and sewage – SAS are now involved in more ways; we empower communities, we campaign, we lobby politicians, we engage volunteers, we educate (and not just kids!), and we play a key role in various scientific research projects.

For example, in the last month SAS have facilitated over 270 beach cleans across the UK as part of our Autumn Beach Clean Series. This means over 7,600 volunteers removed more than 16 tonnes of rubbish from our environment!

Bournemouth saw VIP guests promote the event we organised! Sunset Sons happened to be gigging at the O2 Academy during the Beach Clean week. The band, with their shared love of surfing, was keen to get involved, especially as Bournemouth is the hometown of their front-man Rory. After a few selfies with fans and photos with the press they put on their gloves and joined the other 70 odd volunteers picking up thousands of cigarette butts and single use plastic items. Amongst all the rubbish we also had some interesting finds including a tooth and a piece of bathroom pipe!

The council does a pretty good job in Bournemouth so I encouraged volunteers to look a bit closer and dig a bit deeper for the rubbish that could get missed. We focused on cigarette butts, as their pale colour means they blend into the sand. We also focused on the small bits of plastic; this included the clear caps off the lids of water bottles that become almost invisible once they hit the ground. We managed to fill around 20 sacks from a beach that looked pretty clean on the surface.

Volunteers were rewarded with baked goods kindly donated by our sponsors Greggs; when I spoke to the Bournemouth manager he went above and beyond my expectations, donating 50 sausage rolls and 50 mince pies for my hungry volunteers. This just added to the great atmosphere and helped keep everyone smiling, contributing to a generally great day all round!

If you missed this beach clean series don’t worry, there’s another big one coming in spring and plenty of other ways to get involved in the meantime. I encourage you all to sign our petition for a container deposit scheme in the UK which would mean that people would be better educated about the dangers of plastics to our marine life, and help to clear our beaches of the ever-increasing problem we’re encountering with single-use plastics ‘trashing our tide lines and littering our line-ups’. You can read more about this at www.messageinabottle.org.uk.

Follow my SAS page on Facebook to find out about local events @ally.sasrepboscombe, or visit the main SAS website to learn more about how you can make a difference wherever you are. www.sas.org.uk

Just a sample of what gets picked up

* Photo Credits: Dan Clifton

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