Plastic Warriors take to Sidmouth beach for clean up

PUBLISHED: 08:01 12 January 2019

Denise Bickley with Sidmouth beach clean volunteers. Ref shs 02 19TI 7826. Picture: Terry Ife

Denise Bickley with Sidmouth beach clean volunteers. Ref shs 02 19TI 7826. Picture: Terry Ife

Archant

Eight bin bags full of plastic waste, broken glass, bits of metal and other litter have been cleared from Sidmouth’s beach.

Sidmouth beach clean organiser Denise Bickley. Ref shs 02 19TI 7819. Picture: Terry IfeSidmouth beach clean organiser Denise Bickley. Ref shs 02 19TI 7819. Picture: Terry Ife

The beach clean-up on Saturday, January 5 was organised by Sidmouth Plastic Warriors, supported by Surfers Against Sewage. Sixty people braved the freezing cold to come and take part.

The chairman of the group, Denise Bickley, said they returned with six bags of waste, weighing an estimated 42kg, plus another two bags of recyclable plastic bottles, glass and tins, which were taken away by Streetscene.

“Most of the rubbish was degraded plastic, including fishing wire and nets - a huge amount of that was found at the Jacob’s Ladder end, in the rocks,” she said. “There were also bottle tops, polystyrene, what looked like fan belts from boat engines, the obligatory single shoe, dummies, plastic cutlery, cigarette ends, some broken glass, bits of metal etc – none of which we want on our beach.

“I would say roughly 60% has come from the sea users – large ships, fishing, and so on – twenty per cent is left on the beach, and the rest is from the land, washed down through the river or drains. Squashed bottles fit beautifully down the drains in the streets and go straight down to the beach, as do plastic chocolate wrappers, crisp packets, cigarette ends and so on. Our drains are just not designed for modern life – they were designed to take rainwater and leaves and flush them out to sea which they still do – they just take all the other stuff with it.”

Sidmouth beach clean. Ref shs 02 19TI 7816. Picture: Terry IfeSidmouth beach clean. Ref shs 02 19TI 7816. Picture: Terry Ife

But there is some positive news. Denise believes that, because of the increasing public awareness of the amount of plastic waste in the world’s oceans, many people are inspired to take action locally.

“We were joined by two people who have just moved to the area, who have been on a cruise and saw for themselves the plastic trash islands floating in the oceans,” she said. “Once you see it, you can’t ignore it.”

The Sidmouth Plastic Warriors will be organising another big beach clean in February. For more information, or visit sidmouthplasticwarriors.org to make a donation.

Denise Bickley with Sidmouth beach clean volunteers. Ref shs 02 19TI 7821. Picture: Terry IfeDenise Bickley with Sidmouth beach clean volunteers. Ref shs 02 19TI 7821. Picture: Terry Ife

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