A few days ago, after endless days of rainfall and the long disappearance of the sun, we thought that it was the right time to go out, slip our gloves on, roll up our sleeves and start collecting waste that we found on the beach.
Facts about waste in the ocean
Did you know that, according to the NGO Surfrider Foundation 8 million tons of waste end up spoiling our beautiful oceans and beaches every year?
According to MCS UK, a whooping 46% of the waste in the ocean comes from unidentified sources because it is so tiny, this represents almost half of the waste! And we, the public, are responsible for 30% of this waste, astonishing! On top of that, MCS UK found 10% more waste than the year before.
The raising amount of plastic found in the ocean over the past years is becoming alarming, threatening species around the globe. The most notorious example is the sea turtles which die tangled in fish nets or poisoned with plastic pieces.
Our beach cleaning
On a sunny interval, we got to a local beach on the Basque Coast, ready to clean it up.
After an hour, we found:
187 pieces of soft plastic, mostly packets.
117 pieces of hard plastic, such as non-recyclable containers, unidentifiable tiny pieces, parts of bigger objects (Buckets...) as well as handfuls of plastic rings used for water treatment.
27 recyclable pieces, such as water bottles.
12 meters of fishing nets and fishing lines, probably coming from the nearby fishing activities.
11 pieces of styrofoam.
6 Q-tips, less than we would have expected!
4 straws, again, something that we would have expected to see in more quantities.
1 plant pot, in case fishes would like to get into gardening!
And finally, last but not least, a big plastic palette separator, you know these sorts of boards are used to pile up wake packs in the supermarkets.
Total: 410 items
How to organise your own beach clean up?
Things you'll need:
- A few friends or relatives (or strangers who heard about your event)
- Biodegradable bin bags
Gather your friends to a local beach, or river, if you don't like on the seaside. Divide the beach so each one of your friends have its own square of the beach to clean.
After you've finished, gather together and sort the waste into different categories :
- Recyclable, this will go in your recycling bin once you get home.
- Soft plastics, including straws, plastic cutlery, styrofoam, to be brought to your waste disposal site.
- Hard plastics, including Q-tips..., same as the above.
- Fishing nets and lines, you can dry and use them for some beach-inspired DIY or you can discard them at your local waste disposal site.
We hope we inspired you for your next visit to the beach!
Even though you might not want to get into a real beach clean up session, you can help simply by collecting a couple waste next time you go surfing or hanging out at the beach.
The Earth says thank you 🌍