Volunteers unite against plastic waste on Sidmouth beach

Kate Truman has made it her New Year's resolution to pick up litter once a week. On her first she co

Kate Truman has made it her New Year's resolution to pick up litter once a week. On her first she collected 40 drinks cans, 30 plastic bottles and an array of beer and vodka bottles, as well as numerous smaller pieces of plastic and polystyrene. - Credit: Archant

The tide is turning against single-use plastics in the Sid Valley.

Kate Truman has made it her New Year's resolution to pick up litter once a week. On her first she co

Kate Truman has made it her New Year's resolution to pick up litter once a week. On her first she collected 40 drinks cans, 30 plastic bottles and an array of beer and vodka bottles, as well as numerous smaller pieces of plastic and polystyrene. - Credit: Archant

The newly-formed Sidmouth Plastic Warriors braved the elements for their first beach clean on Saturday, with more events planned around town in the coming weeks.

And there are now more than 4,500 signatures on a petition calling for the town council to lead the way in encouraging green initiatives.

Organiser Denise Bickley has been ‘amazed’ by its success and said: “We have the power in our hands every time we make a purchasing decision, and we need to exercise that. Clearing up the mess is a short-term solution which I am delighted to see becoming normalised.

“Getting everyone to understand that rubbish dropped in the street ends up either in the river or in the gutter, therefore indirectly travelling straight to the sea anyway, therefore contributing to the issue, is a tough one, but we are hoping that the local schools all join in the discussion, too.

Kate Truman has made it her New Year's resolution to pick up litter once a week. On her first she co

Kate Truman has made it her New Year's resolution to pick up litter once a week. On her first she collected 40 drinks cans, 30 plastic bottles and an array of beer and vodka bottles, as well as numerous smaller pieces of plastic and polystyrene. - Credit: Archant


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“It’s been great to see so many children happy to help out with the beach clean, as they need to know the problem to avoid it continuing when they become adults. From what I see, they are all very excited to do their bit.”

Denise is investigating funding opportunities and considering linking up with established groups like Surfers against Sewage and Sidmouth in Bloom’s Sidcombers, but wants to ensure the focus is specifically on plastics.

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Separately, Kate Truman made it her New Year’s resolution to pick up litter once a week on one of her regular walks.

Following her first, on Jacob’s Ladder beach, she wrote online: “I hadn’t quite appreciated how big the problem is. In the space of 20 minutes I had collected around 40 drinks cans, 30 plastic bottles and an array of beer and vodka bottles, as well as numerous smaller pieces of plastic and polystyrene.

Members of the newly formed Sidmouth Plastic Warriors group met for their first beach clean

Members of the newly formed Sidmouth Plastic Warriors group met for their first beach clean - Credit: Archant

“I ended up going back to the car to fetch two more large shopping bags but, frustratingly, still had to leave another bag’s worth of rubbish on the beach because I had no more bags.

“Come on people of Sidmouth, have some pride in your town and respect for the environment!”

A clean-up will take place in Woolbrook at 2pm on Saturday, February 17, and the Holmdale event is at the same time on March 3. Search for ‘Sidmouth Plastic Warriors’ on Facebook for more details.

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