Our ten-hour beach clean for WasteAid

Planet Aware and local volunteers completed a 10-hour beach clean that saw a fifth of a tonne of waste removed from the Island’s beaches on Thursday 27th June.

The event was the idea of Planet Aware’s Sarah Marshall who wanted to undertake a beach cleaning challenge along a large section of the Island’s south coast.

Because some of the beaches on this part of the Island have very few access points it can be difficult to remove any rubbish that collects there. The clean-up therefore had to be organised around the tides and the rubbish collected had to be carried a considerable distance before it could be taken up from the beach and left near the road for collection.

The beach clean started shortly after 8am at Watershoot Bay near Niton where a number of volunteers removed 100 kgs from the bay. Sarah, together with Anne Sayer, also of Planet Aware, and Anne’s partner Daniel Wright continued cleaning to a point between Shepherds Chine and Grange Farm. There the group had to end the day’s clean-up at 6pm with some of the rubbish still remaining on the next the section. A total of 201.5 kgs were removed.

The clean-up was organised to raise money for WasteAid, a charity that works with communities that have no formal waste infrastructure.

“We are lucky on the Isle of Wight to have a strong beach cleaning community,” explained Sarah Marshall. “But beach cleaning is only possible because we have a waste management infrastructure and access to waste management companies that remove the rubbish we collect.

“Three billion people do not have access to safe waste management and so their rubbish piles up in open dumps and is either burnt, or is washed in huge amounts into rivers and into the sea. If we help these communities, we can have more of an impact on marine plastic pollution. Alongside this we must ensure our recycling is managed closer to home and not exported.

“WasteAid runs fantastic projects working with local communities to divert plastic waste and turn it into tiles, preventing it from entering the oceans.”

Planet Aware has set a target of raising £500 for WasteAid, and with existing donations and pledges is now two thirds of the way there. All donations made before the end of July will be match funded by UK Aid – meaning this is a great time to donate to this organisation and help contribute to making a real difference to marine plastic pollution. All donations will go directly to the project which means every £30 donated will keep 100,000 plastic bags out of the ocean.

Sarah said, “We want to thank everyone who has supported us so far by donating to WasteAid, the volunteers that joined us at Watershoot Bay, National Trust ranger Ian Ridett for helping move some of the waste from Watershoot Bay and Biffa for taking away all the rubbish that was collected.”

Planet Aware runs the Refill scheme on the Isle of Wight – encouraging businesses to offer free tap water to anyone who pops in with a refillable bottle. “Plastic bottles, particularly water bottles, were the most common items that we found during the clean-up,” Sarah said. “Choosing Refill over bottled water is something we can all do to cut plastic pollution and avoid litter.” Other items found included balloons, polystyrene, deodorant bottles, fishing net, Otrivin bottles and shoes.

You can donate Planet Aware’s fundraiser for WasteAid at:

https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/planet-aware-wasteaid or by donating at Lesley’s Nutshell in Ventnor or at Ventnor post office.