Surfers Against Sewage celebrates 33 tonnes of plastic pollution cleared in one weekAndrew Marsden
Surfers Against Sewage 2019 Autumn Beach Cleans celebrate 33 tonnes of plastic pollution cleared from beaches, rivers and inland areas across the UK and Northern Ireland in just one week.
Leading marine conservation charity Surfers Against Sewage (SAS) shared their astounding figures recently following this year’s annual Autumn Beach Clean: Summit to Sea, which sees thousands of volunteers roll up their sleeves and clean up their local area each October.
The charity also has regional representatives in Northern Ireland and is one of the only environmental charities focussed around water quality for swimmers and surfers through their highly successful mobile application ’safer seas service.’
For this year’s event, held from 19th – 27th October, more than 27,300 people joined forces to host 602 cleans across the UK and Northern Ireland – 33% over our target of 400 and a 19% increase from 2018.
That’s equates to more than 92,000 hours of volunteer power over the whole week, literally something to think about if every week communities dedicated more time to removing plastic pollution.
SAS’s Community Manager Jack Middleton said: “As always, we are blown away by the positive can-do spirit of communities everywhere. Despite some of the worst weather we have had for a beach clean project for years, 27,305 amazing volunteers still turned out to make a stand against the degradation of our environment. From babies through to elderly, everyone did their bit to protect our beaches, rivers, mountains, and streets.
One of the main aims of this year’s Autumn Beach Clean was data collection. This follows on from the research carried out at the Big Spring Beach Clean earlier this year which saw a huge number of volunteers collecting information in a nationwide Brand Audit. Highlighting the worst offending companies, this was later submitted as vital evidence into a number of governmental consultations.
Among them, were the Extended Producer Responsibilities and the Deposit Return Scheme, which will soon see consumers pay a small fee when buying drinks in plastic bottles or cans (that is reimbursed when they return the container).
Continuing this vital work, just under 100 Ocean Activists Plastic Audits from the Autumn Beach Clean have been submitted collecting important evidence on the materials turning up in our environment. This number is expected to increase further – ensuring even more vital data to support future consultations and research.