Group clears 1,300kg of waste from beach in 2023

Posted by Nutramar Staff on December 26, 2023

Group clears 1,300kg of waste from beach in 2023 thumbnail image

Volunteers from Plastic Free Exmouth (PFE) and Surfers Against Sewage set a record by clearing over 1,300kg (2,870lbs) of waste from Exmouth Beach in Devon in 2023. The weekly beach clean, initiated in 2021 amid increased beach usage during Covid-19 lockdowns, involves volunteers removing plastic and various waste items left on the beach or washed ashore. Approximately half of the collected waste was left by beachgoers, with smoking and vaping paraphernalia being frequently encountered. The effort highlights the ongoing challenges of coastal pollution and the importance of community-driven initiatives for environmental conservation.

Plastic Free Exmouth (PFE) leader Lucy Oakes-Ash emphasized the positive impact of volunteers who dedicated their time to the weekly beach cleans amid increased beach usage for socializing. She highlighted the commitment of volunteers, ranging from 15 to 40 individuals per cleanup, contributing about an hour each week to address the waste issue. In 2022, volunteers collected 1,000kg (2,200lbs) of waste from Exmouth Beach. Oakes-Ash expressed concerns about single-use vapes exacerbating the plastic problem and mentioned that items like polystyrene, clothing, and sponge fragments were frequently found during cleanups.

Lucy Oakes-Ash described the waste found on Exmouth Beach as falling into two categories: items left behind, such as bottles, tin cans, clothing, smoking paraphernalia, crisp packets, and wrappers; and items washed ashore, including fishing nets, fishing wire, and fragments from cargo ships. She expressed particular concern about microplastics, also known as nurdles. Oakes-Ash expressed pride in living in Exmouth, a place that attracts visitors, but urged people to be responsible for the waste they generate, emphasizing the importance of environmental stewardship for the planet's well-being. She encouraged individuals to clean up after themselves, emphasizing that there is no second chance for the planet. Mrs. Oakes-Ash said her message to people who left waste behind intentionally was: "We have one planet, there is no second chance here. We have one planet to look after and every part of what we eat, what we do, comes from the planet - and therefore we need to look after that for it to look after us." To learn more please go to the BBC’s article