The Surfers Against Sewage Big Spring Beach Clean returned to Brighton with over 150 litter-pickers united to clear the way for another Summer.
Organised locally under Zero Waste Brighton, with major UK sponsors, this year’s event saw the biggest turnout of volunteers yet. And there’s every reason to join in; marine litter is one of the biggest threats to the health and sustainability of our marine ecosystem today. The Guardian reports that the equivalent of one refuse truck of plastic is dumped into the sea every minute. If this continues there’ll be more plastic than plankton.
Brighton Source went to check out the good work, and we’re amazed to hear that this isn’t just a thing for local people who care – some people trekked from as far as Farnham, in Surrey. That’s dedication for you.
Organisers Stu Davies (Creative Bloom), Atlanta Cook (Deans GRAB) and Nikol Hruskova (a local volunteer) are the friendly faces at the pop-up Waste Station at The Meeting Place Cafe, and they arm you with bags and grab-sticks and send you on your way. You can clear anywhere from the King Alfred Leisure Centre to Brighton Pier. People dispersed into small leisurely groups. It’s quite a casual affair, and you can turn up at any time as the organisers are here all day long. At the Waste Station they weigh-in the waste and then sort it for recycling.
One of the issues highlighted this year are the deposits of palm oil and paraffin by ships in the English Channel. It sounds like a fineable offence, but apparently it’s legal for ships to drain their tanks at sea. This waste, as seen in the pink bucket in its solidified form, has washed up on Sussex beaches and when ingested is harmful to dogs and children.
This year they removed an amazing 140kg of waste off the beach. But it’s not just rubbish they found; there was treasure too, and even a message in a bottle.
Some of you may think it’s best to clean up during the Summer, especially if the new i360 brings hordes more people to our shores. Well you’d be right, it’s a biannual event so they’ll be back and will most certainly be needing your help!
Words and photos by Francesca Moore