This week we teamed up with Prof. Steve Simpson and 190 students from the School of Biological Sciences from the University of Bristol to tackle Westward Ho! beach in North Devon, for yet another successful beach clean. Returning to this beach after our clean in July, we came back in force. We held three cleans in one day, with a total of nine groups covering 900 meters of beach, making this our biggest clean to date.
We had 190 amazing student volunteers as well as staff from Bristol University, who had traveled to Bideford for a few introduction days. This gives students an on-the-ground insight into their new degree course, as well as giving them a chance to get to know their course-mates and lecturers. As part of their trip they have helped to leave Devon cleaner than they found it with this huge beach clean!
Working in teams, nine groups of twenty scoured the beach in two hours blocks throughout the day. Having so many volunteers allowed us to make a big impact, and thoroughly clean the litter from this beach. Some recorded finds, some moved rocks with their hands, some used pickers to find tricky pieces, and some dug for nurdles.
We found an incredible about of fishing nets, wire, and ropes amongst the rocks, as well as a mountain of plastic pieces. The high-tide takes the water right up into the rocks, making these stones a vast natural net for rubbish. It made the task of getting the litter out from between these huge pebbles very challenging at times.
One student described the event as “Really satisfying. I feel I’ve made a difference today.”
We had to agree when we saw just how many bags of litter were collected. Countless bags, weighing in at 35.56 kilos, were filled by our wonderful student volunteers. Everything we recovered was sorted, counted, and recorded using the Marine Conservation data sheets. This data is then uploaded to the national database, hopefully helping scientists to see patterns and trends. As with any beach clean, there are always some unusual finds. Some of the weird things we found included a boat pole, a nemo toy, and a frisbee.
Bristol University is the third university to work with us to deliver a beach clean and we cant wait to work together again in the future.
If your university, society, or local group, would like to take part in a beach clean please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.