This morning with fifty or so other volunteers we went down to the beach to pick up litter. We were issued with black plastic bags and one of those grabber things, read some safety instructions and off we went.
There was a howling wind along the beach so the main difficulty was in keeping the black plastic bag open and not twisted round on itself as we went looking for rubbish. Black bin bags are not a good idea because they are so thin and in a high wind just impossible to manage! We did so in the end by me abandoning the picking up and taking charge of the bag and him wielding the grabber. This solved the other problem I had, shortness of arms and length of grabber – I couldn’t get anything into the bag!
We were both surprised at the lack of litter and rubbish on the beach – ok, so maybe some of the lightweight stuff had been blown away, but we came across very few actual items, one plastic bottle, no cans, two pens and mostly just scraps of plastic bag trapped by the sand or sodden paper and cardboard. What we did find was a lot of dog poo bags, complete with poo – we had been told to leave these so we did, puzzling over the reason for bagging the poo then just dumping it… There was also a lot of actual poo just waiting for me to tread in it… yes, I did. Luckily being on the beach there was plenty of water to get rid of it, but how disgusting! Supposing I had been a barefoot child?
After an hour our bag was only a quarter full and we were fed up with the gale so we headed back to the rendezvous, picking up things as we went. We handed over the bag and returned the grabbers and set off to walk home, not along the beach but along the road. It’s just over a mile home, but as we walked along we remarked on the amount of rubbish we now saw; everything from food wrappers, bottles, cans, plastic containers, paper, an abandonned golf umbrella over the fence on the golf course, take-away packaging… if we’d had our grabber and plastic bag it would have been full before we were halfway home!
Back home and a cup of tea we reflected on how surprisingly clean the beach was, and thought that if we volunteer again we might think about a more substantial bag we could take to make it easier… and a short grabber for me with my short arms!