Sunday 25 May 2014

25/05/14 | Together we can make a difference

After the winter storms brought a tidal wave of rubish to my local beach, I was left feeling pretty helpless. A few of us started spending an hour or so each weekend collecting rubbish and hauling it back up the dunes, but the task seemed so huge it was hard to keep going. Despite telling ourselves 'every little helps' it felt like we weren't having any impact.

Not long afterwards Martin Dorey started his #2minutebeachclean campaign - it's a simple idea: when you're at the beach spare two minutes of your time to pick up what rubbish you can. Post photos of what you've picked up to social media and help spread the word. The idea quickly spread and soon images from across the globe were appearing on Instagram. Other groups sprung up on Facebook charting unusual finds and comparing beachcombing notes (I thought I was imagining that I kept seeing Lego flowers until I came across Lego Lost At Sea). Suddenly it wasn't just a few of us, we could see our combined efforts - together we can make a difference, even if individually it doesn't feel like much.

Still we waded knee deep in plastic bottles on some parts of the beach. TCV Cornwall organised a few beach cleans to tackle the mass of bottles at Penhale Corner, then on the 29th of March over 250 people turned up to help for the SAS Big Spring Beach Clean. Together we removed over 3 tonnes of plastic from along the beach. It doesn't end there though. Despite the truckloads of litter collected a huge amount of small plastic fragments remains, and more litter continues to wash ashore daily. Removing all the small plastics seems like an impossible task, but removing all the large plastic seemed impossible to start off with, I think I'm up for the challenge.

Picking up all this rubbish and seeing what ends up in our seas has really made me focus on what a difference I personally can make. Single use plastics are everywhere, and yet barely 50 years ago they didn't exist. We've completely succumbed to their convenience without really considering what happens to them afterwards. Now when I shop I look at the packaging of what I'm buying, and try to decide if I really need it, or if there is a better-packaged alternative. I've stopped using single use plastic bags and single serving drinks. That one is hard - no more smoothies or juices with a sandwich when I'm out and about, I have to remember to take something with me from home. If we as consumers use our buying power to tell companies that we care about how their products are packaged and how much waste they cause, together we can really make a difference.

I could write about this indefinitely, so for now I'm going to let some of my pictures do the talking:

If you've made it this far you can check out more information on marine litter on SAS's website and take their plastic bag pledge, or learn more about 2 minute beach cleans at

1 comment:

  1. Thank you Rebecca. I recently got back from India and it is so saddening to see the amount of plastic rubbish everywhere...literally thrown down the side of a beautiful river, or into a lake. And a lot of it is due to tourism.... everyone has an impact and everyone can make a positive change. Thanks for bringing awareness. Really love your pictures, they are actually quite beautiful.