Over 220 volunteers turn out to protect North Devon beaches with SAS & The Crown Estate
SAS & The Crown Estate were delighted to welcome over 220 beach clean volunteers to the North Devon Beach Clean Series, who together removed over 650kgs of marine litter from this amazing stretch of the UK’s coastline. Taking place over two weekends in November, SAS visited five very different beaches from the surfer friendly expanse of Saunton, where we were joined by an amazing 105 volunteers, to the isolated beauty of Woody Bay. As ever, we were overwhelmed and inspired by the commitment and enthusiasm of our volunteers who are helping Surfers Against Sewage turn the tide on marine litter.
The amount of marine litter found on UK beaches has more than doubled in the last 15 years. In a recent survey, 63.5% of litter found on UK beaches was made of plastic, which can take hundreds of years to break down and can be lethal to marine wildlife. With 80% of this debris arriving from land-based sources, including the general public, the power is in our hands to make a positive difference to stop the growing problem of marine litter. Beach cleans are a great way to remove marine litter, inspire community action and ensure the beach is a clean and safe place for all to enjoy.
Woolacombe & Saunton
Over 150 volunteers joined us in glorious sunshine and helped to remove almost half a tonne of marine litter from Woolacombe and Saunton beaches.
Woolacombe 13.11.11: Beautiful weather and perfect waves provided the perfect backdrop for the first of the SAS/Crown Estate North Devon Beach Clean series. Sadly we were also greeted by a vast strandline full of ocean microplastics and mermaids tears. 51 volunteers helped us to remove 96kg of litter from this well-kept beach, the vast majority of the litter collected consisted of marine microplastics such as our old foe, thousands of ‘Mermaids Tears’. The weird fish competition was won by Maggie, who found a frying pan!
Saunton 14.11.11: Over 100 beach clean volunteers, including many from the day before at Woolacombe helped us to remove a massive 376kg of marine litter. The weird fish was won hands down by a pair of fisherman’s galoshes (luckily minus the fisherman).
Westward Ho!, Woody Bay & Lynmouth
The final weekend had more than a touch of winter to it, however that did not stop over 60 hardy beach lovers from joining us in removing over 180kgs of marine litter from three very different but equally important North Devon beaches.
Westward Ho! 26.11.11: The SAS tent blew down but the 30+ knot onshore winds didn’t deter 37 volunteers of all ages and backgrounds helping us to remove 91kgs of marine litter. The Weirdfish competition was won by the sea weathered section of a Litterbin. The discovery of a dead seabird (over 1 million seabirds die each year from the ingestion of and entanglement in marine plastic litter) with plastic fishing line inside it’s body cavity placed some perspective on the day.
Woody Bay 27.11.11 (morning): Woody Bay is arguably the most stunning and difficult beach to access that SAS has cleaned this year. After a 30 minute walk down the steep cliff Exmoor cliffs were greeted by a pristine, empty beach. The feeling of isolation and wildness only served to emphasise just how vital it is to protect our coastline.
Lynmouth 27.11.11 (afternoon): 18 beach lovers (some of whom had been with us at Woody Bay) braved the cold, cold northerly winds and a darkening sky to remove 94kgs of marine litter. We were also honoured by a visit from the Mayor, who thanked us for our efforts. The Weirdfish competition was won by Dan who found a small gas canister that is surely much missed by a hungry fisherman.
We’d like to say a massive thank you to each and every volunteer who gave up their time, to our North Devon Beach Clean Series partners The Crown Estate, and to The Museum of British Surfing for their support.
For more information on the Autumn Beach clean series and SAS Beach Cleans in general please contact [email protected] or SAS HQ on 01872 553 001.
The Crown Estate
The Crown Estate’s responsibility is to maintain and enhance the value of the estate and its income over the long-term, having regard to good management. We operate as a commercial organisation paying our surplus revenue (profit) to the Treasury for the benefit of the nation every year: in 2010/11 this was £230.9 million. We combine the commercial imperative with an equally firm commitment to integrity and stewardship, part of which involves facilitating the development of marine renewables on our marine estate and providing funds for scientific research and community projects that promote responsible management of the marine estate. We are pleased to support Surfers Against Sewage in their efforts to assist the community in protecting their environment and removing litter from north Devon’s coastline.