Litter around Sidmouth leaves plastic warrior ‘heartbroken’

Sidmouth beach clean up from 2019 Picture: Terry Ife

Sidmouth beach clean up from 2019 Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

A Sidmouth Plastic Warrior has been left ‘heartbroken’ by the amount of litter on the beach after the hard work it took to make it spotless during lockdown.

Sidmouth beach clean up from 2019 Picture: Terry Ife

Sidmouth beach clean up from 2019 Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

Denise Bickley, of Sidmouth Plastic Warriors, said: “We have all seen pictures online and in the papers of the Jurassic Coast getting a battering with litter as ‘pub culture’ is spilling out onto the beaches.

“I personally have been heartbroken as we worked so hard to get the beach and the whole area looking amazingly clean during lockdown.

“But, chin up, we must rally ourselves and set an example.”

Denise said the easing of the lockdown, coinciding with the beautiful weather, has caused chaos on England’s beaches.

Sidmouth beach clean 2012 Picture: Simon Horn

Sidmouth beach clean 2012 Picture: Simon Horn - Credit: Archant

She added: “Until that weekend, everybody had been staying inside and the beaches were deserted.

“Streetscene were caught off guard, understandably, as litter collections had been pared back to winter levels, with reduced staffing, and the extra bins that would have gone out at this time of year were not put out.

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“Suddenly though, the beaches were full – with the pubs shut it meant that many people took their drinks and barbecues to the beach.

“It seems that many people think a picnic on the beach means buying as much pre-packaged food as possible and leaving the packaging there when finished.”

Denise added that some of the Sidmouth Plastic Warriors had been using their daily exercise, as part of lockdown, to do clean ups – along the beach and throughout the town and surrounding main roads.

“We were able to clear hedgerows along the main roads that are normally totally inaccessible and have safely disposed of at least 20 large sacks full of old degraded plastic bottles, tin cans and glass.

“We reckoned Sidmouth has not been this clean for many years.

“However, all has changed again and it seems that the whole town was trashed in a few days.

“I myself, generally a very positive person, have found it very difficult to go out and see the destruction, and thought fleetingly I would just stop bothering to clear it up.

“My fellow warriors have picked me up - and this is one of the great things about having such a fantastic large group of similarly minded people.

“When we are down, we are pulled back up by a common goal – educating those who think it is just ‘litter’ and that it doesn’t matter.

“We know we must keep going otherwise the sea will be even more full of plastic, and we just can’t let that happen.”

Email if you would like to help keep Sidmouth looking spotless.