Isle Clean The Beach!
Why do our beaches need cleaning?
Up to 12 million tonnes of plastic ends up in our oceans every year! This plastic ends up in our seas after escaping from landfill, flowing from our drains, falling off fishing boats, and even being dumped in the ocean on purpose!
This is bad because plastic pollution can seriously affect marine life. Large pieces of plastic like discarded fishing gear can trap animals like dolphins, turtles, and whales preventing them from reaching the surface to breathe. Smaller plastic items can be confused as food by fish and sea birds and are dangerous when consumed, often killing the animals that eat them. This plastic will then move through the food chain, including to humans who eat seafood.
Since plastic takes hundreds of years to break down, it can stay in the ocean for a very long time. Ocean currents move this pollution around the planet and tides wash it up on beaches, including those here on the Isle of Wight. This plastic builds up, creating a hazard for both people and animals that use the beaches, and will often be washed back into the sea by the tides.
What are we doing about it?
We run regular beach cleans around the Isle of Wight. These are often at beaches that accumulate a lot of rubbish during strong tides and storms. We have been able to remove large quantities of plastic from our beaches, ensuring they don't make it back into the ocean. We also use our presence at events to raise awareness about ocean plastics.
We have recently applied for some funding to make our beach cleans more efficient and eco-friendly! We have a local seamstress who will help us in making some reusable beach cleaning bags out of fabric that would otherwise be thrown away, such as offcuts from sail-making. We will also be trying to find or make a beach trolly to help in transporting large amounts of rubbish across the beaches.
Currently, we are collecting certain items which are found often on our beach cleans. One of our plans for this project is to create a 'museum' of plastic items with stories behind them, such as container spills. We may also use some to create an art piece. The main aim of these installments will be to raise awareness about ocean plastic.
What can YOU do?
You can join us at one of our beach cleans; check out upcoming ones here.
If you are able to get beach cleaning in your free time and find any of the following items, please let us know as we are currently collecting them for our future projects:
Nurdles (find out about them here)
Otrivin bottles or lids (see pictures)
If you find anything you think is interesting - for example something unexpected or from far away - please send us a picture, post it in our Facebook group, or tag us on Instagram!
If you have any ideas about creative ways we can deal with and raise awareness about ocean plastic, please contact us! If you have an idea for a related project of your own, consider joining the group and co-creating it with us!
If you'd like to help prevent the plastic pollution at the source, reduce your single-use plastic use! Check out our Re-isle project to find out more about how you can reduce your plastic consumption.