Last week we kicked off Make Holidays Greener month with a beach clean in Brighton (strictly speaking, Hove). Over 30 people from the travel trade* came out to do their bit, and we were guided by Ed from the Marine Conservation Society – a charity that runs hundreds of beach cleans with volunteers in the UK every year.
It’s high season, and Brighton and Hove’s beaches are being regularly cleaned by the local council. Our section of beach looked pretty much spotless, and yet…
In under an hour, the group collected 1025 pieces of rubbish!
About two thirds of this was plastic. Plastic doesn’t biodegrade, and so if someone doesn’t actually come along and pick it up, it will be there for many decades before it finally breaks down. And of course as well as looking ugly, plastic litter can cause all sorts of problems for marine wildlife and sea birds that either get caught in it, or mistake it for food and swallow it. Among our haul we picked up cigarette lighters, bottle tops, tennis balls, bits of disposable barbecues, ice lolly sticks, cigarette stubs, cotton bud sticks (flush them down the toilet and they end up on the beach), bits of fishing net and drinks cans. What’s great about the Big Holiday Beach Clean is that it’s not just about cleaning up after ourselves – tourism is only one of many sources of beach litter. Rather, tourism is perfectly placed to be part of the solution: staff and customers are based around beautiful beaches across the globe, and they really appreciate their value both to tourism and to wildlife. And once you’ve been on a beach clean you realise it’s not just worthwhile, it’s fun (especially when the sun is shining)!
We’re hoping to see over 100 beach cleans across the globe this month. Thanks to those of you who have already done yours, and sent us your pictures and stories. If you want to get involved there’s still time to sign up. And if you missed our Brighton event but want to take part in a UK clean up, please visit mcsuk.org/beachwatch
*Thanks to: Flexitreks, Pure Crete, TUI Travel, AITO, Sunvil, Mountain Kingdoms, Neilson, Thomson Airways, TTG, Ski Safari, ABTA and The Eventa Group.