Picture picnicking with family at the beach – and imagine it peppered with dog-muck and plastic bags.
That is the issue faced monthly by Rossall Beach Residents’ and Community Group, Cleveleys, which is calling for residents to help litter-pick this September as part of the Marine Conservation Society’s “Great British Beach Clean”.
None of this rots away. Instead, it grinds down into smaller pieces that work their way into the food chain
Chairman Jane Littlewood has come across all sorts of waste – buckets and spades in summer, plastic spoons, straws, sewage and wet wipes disposed down the toilet and washed up on Rossall’s shore, many carried northwards from Blackpool. Rope, nets and plastic boxes have also all drifted in from fishing boats.
Ms Littlewood said: “None of this rots away. Instead, it grinds down into smaller pieces that work their way into the food chain. Fish swallow them, as with plastic bags, which resemble jellyfish in the water. Birds not only eat fragments of plastic but they often become entangled in items like balloon ribbon, which leads to starvation.”
“Dog-muck blends in with pebbles so you can’t always see it. We’ve been working with the local council to reduce it and people are becoming more responsible”.
“Wet wipes, unlike tissue, don’t disintegrate. We’ve had one placed in water as an experiment for at least three years: it still looks brand new. Combined with fats poured down the drain, the wipes clog sewers, resulting in waste overflowing into the sea.
“I used to come day-tripping to Rossall Beach before the community group was started,” she added, regarding the effect on tourism, “and it was off-putting. It was filthy”.
Beach litter, according to MCS Beachwatch manager Lauren Eyles, has been steadily rising in the UK over two decades of recording. Across all four Lancashire beaches, 97 and a half bin bags were filled in last year’s summer clean-ups, totalling 3041 items per km.
“Be responsible,” Jane advised, “for rubbish. Put it in the bin and always pick up dog poo. Also, only pour water down a plug hole, never fat. Instead, wipe a grill down with kitchen roll then throw it out in the bin, as the fat will solidify later on. And when it comes to what you put down the toilet, remember the three ‘Ps’.”
The group’s clean-up will take place on Sunday, September 18 at Rossall Beach, meeting at 1-30pm for 2pm.
Alternate clean-ups across Lancashire are taking place on Monday, August 22 Rossall Beach, Cleveleys, 9-30am; Saturday, September 17, Blackpool Beach, 2pm; Sunday, September 18, Half Moon Bay, Heysham, 5-30pm.
For more visit www.rossallbeach.org.uk or www.mcsuk.org/beachwatch/events