On the last Saturday of the Easter Holidays this year, our sea kayaking and coasteering guide Hugo organised a Big Spring Beach Clean event at Polzeath for marine environment charity Surfers Against Sewage. Hugo is SAS’s regional representative for Polzeath and our local stretch of coast, volunteering his spare time and energy to raise awareness of their important campaigns, organising events such as this one and looking after the local SAS Beach Clean Box. The Big Spring Beach Clean series (and its cousin the Big Autumn Beach Clean series) mobilises volunteers around the country to give a little back to their local beach; this year over 35,000 volunteers took part in 571 clean-up events at beaches, lakes and inland waterways. Together they removed 63 tonnes of litter from the environment. What an incredible effort.
Polzeath’s beach clean was organised by Hugo and was also supported by Bird Sunglasses, Ann’s Cottage surf shop and The Tubestation (who hosted and refreshed volunteers), and was well attended with 52 people helping clear litter from the beach. Together, they collected six full black sacks of litter and removed an old lobster pot from the high tide line. Somewhat frustratingly, strong southerly winds in the days leading up to the clean meant that some plastic litter that could otherwise have been removed was blown offshore; that lot will have to wait for another day.
Beach cleans often turn up some interesting finds, amidst the usual suspects of single use plastic bottles, straws, cotton bud sticks and bits of fishing net. On this occasion, a commemorative medal from 1930, celebrating the third jubilee of the founder of the Sunday School movement, Robert Raikes, was found. One key element of these beach cleans is to record the types and amounts of different litter collected, which will be used to inform an upcoming report by the treasury into a proposed tax on single use plastic items.
We’re really proud of the work that Hugo does for Surfers Against Sewage. The welfare of our oceans and coastlines is incredibly important to us – it’s our office and our playground and we love showing off our beautiful back yard to visitors to the area. The marine plastic pollution issue is real, but thankfully it’s a problem that we can all do something about.
This summer Hugo is taking part in SAS Does Strictly, putting himself outside of his comfort zone as he learns to dance to raise funds for Surfers Against Sewage. You can follow his progress and donate via his Just Giving Page.
All photos by and copyright of Christina Jones.