5 Reasons to Organise a Beach Clean in 2020

By Rachel Horne

Following COVID guidelines, we are facing a worrying combination of cancelled beach clean events, a huge spike in littering and masses of PPE washing up on our shores. But we can’t lose hope!

This year we’re running an extended Great British Beach Clean from 18th to 25th September.

By asking as many people as possible to adopt 100 metres of the British coastline with their family, friends, and ‘bubbles’, we can ensure that British marine life is protected, even in the strangest of times.

Here are 5 reasons why organising a Great British Beach Clean in 2020 is so important!

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1. To make a real difference

It’s easy to feel helpless about the environmental issues that we are faced with today. We only have to turn on the news or check our social media accounts to feel like the problems in this world are too big for us to face…but you can make a difference!

Litter is so much easier to clean up on beaches than when it has sunk to the ocean floor or broken up into microscopic pieces. Organising a beach clean up is one of the most effective ways that you can personally protect marine life. Every piece of litter that you take off the beaches is one less piece of litter that can end up breaking into microplastics, entangling a bird or being eaten by a whale. There are many things in the world that are out of our control, but cleaning up the beaches is not one of them.

2. To stretch those quarantined legs

What can we say about 2020? Never before have we been so confined into our homes. For many of us, the disconnection from outdoor spaces has affected our mental and physical health. Wandering up and down the beach to the sound of gulls and the crashing ocean will be a welcome relief after long months of COVID restriction and lockdown.

Not only does organising a beach clean help the planet, but it also gives you a chance to spend a few hours in the fresh air. We hope that organising a beach clean with your loved ones will give you many fond memories to look back on over the years.

This is also a wonderful way to get children engaged with environmental issues in a fun and interactive learning environment.

Bournemouth Beach

3. To plug the gaps

At last year’s Great British Beach Clean, over 10,000 volunteers came together to survey and clean up 437 beaches in a single weekend. These amazing volunteers cleared 16,000 drinks bottles from UK beaches and nearly 11 tonnes of washed up litter in a single weekend.

Due to COVID restrictions, many mass beach cleanups have been cancelled this year, but we’ve not given up hope! By encouraging people to organise their own smaller beach cleans within groups of family, friends and ‘bubbles’, we know that the British public will once against stand up for their beaches and seas.

We have produced plenty of guidance to help make your smaller beach clean as safe and fun as possible, whilst sticking to the government’s Coronavirus guidelines. For more information about this, check out our step by step guide to organising a beach clean.

4. To respond to a new problem

There has been an enormous spike in the use of personal protective equipment (PPE), such as face masks and plastic gloves.Of course, these can be an important part of protecting vulnerable people from harm, however, the irresponsible disposal of PPE is a huge problem.

All over the world, masks and gloves are washing up on beaches like never before. These pose a threat to marine life which can get tangled up in the litter, or mistake it for food. The combination of new PPE litter and cancelled beach cleans means that organising a Great British Beach Clean in 2020 is more important than ever!

PPE

5. To give a voice to the people that care

Unfortunately, there has been a huge rise in littering since Coronavirus restrictions have been relaxed and it’s not just PPE.

There has been a real problem with people abandoning tents, sleeping bags, litter, toilet paper, and human waste in the most pristine wildlife spots across the UK, from beaches to countryside.

Whilst the vast majority of wild campers continue to leave no trace (and even clean up after the people dumping their trash), these few people are causing a worrying problem for the humans, animals and plants of the UK. Not only will this litter spoil the countryside for other users, but it will also end up in the ocean via local river systems or by being blown to the coast in the wind. By organising a beach clean in 2020, we can stop this litter entering the oceans.

By organising a beach clean in 2020, we can show the world that the UK cares about their wildlife and the environment.