As you might have guessed from the pics that I manage to sneak on here as frequently as possible (thank your lucky stars you're not my Facebook friend, that's all I can say, if you're getting a little bit sick of them) - I love the beach. In rain, in sun, when it's howling a gale, chucking it down with rain that whips in across the shore, or flat calm. I love swimming in the sea, the feel of the silky water, the salt in my face, sand - or pebbles under my toes.
Give me a bad beach over a shopping centre, a junk shop, the cinema, a bar absolutely ANY DAY of the year. Although a good beach with either a cup of tea and a piece of cake or a cold beer is even better.
But I digress. The thing is, that even the wild, beautiful, isolated beaches that I'm lucky enough to be frequenting at the moment on the West Wales coast are blighted by one thing. Litter. It may not be litter that's been left by other people who were on the beach, but it's there, washing up from the sea, blowing in on the wind. These wild and beautiful places where you find mars bar wrappers, plastic drink bottles, rope, broken up polystyrene, fishing line. It's no good.
At the risk of sounding super smug, we always take our litter away with us - wherever we are. It's become something of an obsession, making sure that we leave nothing behind, picking up anything that's there regardless of if it came from our picnic bag or not - but it's not enough. There is always someone else's litter, and yes, may be they should have picked it up, but you know, may be they were grappling with a recalcitrant child who didn't want to leave the sandcastle and just didn't notice that the crisp packet had blown away. And if you're a fisherman dealing with the matter of catching fish to earn a living, may be the fact that the offcut of rope was swept into the sea was the least of their worries at the time. The fact is that the litter is there and if it's not picked up, it will stay there - not just blighting the beautiful beach, but acting as a hazard for wild life.
|All bagged up and ready to go|
So what are the options? Well, you can walk on by. Tut at the state of humanity that leaves its litter lying around but essentially do nothing (smug in the knowledge that your own litter is safely bagged) or you can do what Martin Dorey and Beach Clean encourage us to do and take part in your own 2 minute beach clean.
It makes complete sense. When you're leaving the beach - or perhaps as part of your day, your afternoon, your run or dog walk, spend 2 minutes picking up any litter you find, take it away and dispose of it as you would any rubbish - recycle if possible, or bin it safely. Of course you could extend it to anywhere, too - it's not exclusive to the beach, the damage litter does. Parks, hills, even the street where you live. It's about showing a bit of respect for the environment we live in, taking care of it.
And really, 2 minutes to pick up litter - is that really a problem?