Our beachcombing was something of a disappointment. I never remember any rubbish on beaches when I was growing up except for the occasional jetsam. And plenty of flotsam after a storm. Sure, it was unspoilt New Zealand in the ’70s and ’80s but the amount that I have collected over the week is heartbreaking. There may have been less per km than what you might find on the more populous eastern beaches in Essex but it highlights the worldwide plastic problem.
Granted, it has been stormy but I really do despair for humankind when I see how much man made rubbish litters beaches.
From loads of plastic bags, sweet packaging, broken fishing netting, a mop head(!), beer bottles, takeaway boxes, an ice-cream box and nylon cord this place has had almost everything.
Things that we can all do outside of lobbying those in power are:
- Buy less plastic or at least look for other options to carry groceries and the like. It’s easy and like riding a bike, it becomes habit
- Dispose of litter in a bin or take it home with you where there is a bin
- Challenge those who you see litter. Sometimes it is dropped in error, sometimes it is not. I have developed a friendly approach:”excuse me, I think that you dropped something…”. If that is ignored or denied, make a point of disposing of it politely within their vision and that of others to provide some peer shame
- Take a bag to the beach or park and aim to collect at least 5items that may be disposal, renewable, recyclable or renewable. I hate having to pick up after lazy people but our environment is more important than my feelings towards the idle of this world
- Walk or ride a bike to the shop rather than drive if it is feasible. Less emissions, better longevity and peace of mind make the world a better place (I hope).