The Great British Beach Clean 2021 is here!

This week marks the Great British Beach Clean 2021 (17- 26 September), an event which takes place every September to encourage people to chip in and carry out litter picks at beaches local to them.

TJ is a strong supporter of the clean beach and ocean health initiative and recently formed an official partnership with ocean health charity the Final Straw Foundation.

The Final Straw Foundation was established in Emsworth in 2018. They started as a group of volunteers giving their time to help clean up local community spaces and, in time, the surrounding areas. They originally focussed on encouraging businesses to cut back on the amount of disposable, pointless plastic they used as well as running beach cleans and talking to local communities in the Solent area.

The organisation has really grown since its inception and they now work with many different types of businesses on sustainability and helping them find ethical and sustainable alternatives to single-use plastic in their activities. They have a busy school outreach programme and have reached thousands of children in the Solent area through assemblies and workshops. They also work with community groups, giving talks and running activities and encouraging people to avoid single-use plastic and how to best dispose of it if they do need to use it.

The Final Straw are supporting the Great British Beach Clean by hosting a clean-up along the Billy Trail between Havant and Langstone on 23 September at 10am. The event will last around two hours and anyone who would like to join in should come along to the car park by The Spring, 56 East St, Havant PO9 1BS. 

TJ has assisted with several of the Final Straw’s beach cleaning operations over the past few years, including providing skips to collect all the waste at the end of the larger projects. TJ provide these services free of charge, ensuring that all waste is disposed of correctly. 

TJ stepped in to help back in 2019 when the Final Straw were struggling to get their huge plastic bottle bank – a metal structure in the shape of a fish called Nellie – emptied. When no one else would help, TJ offered assistance, going above and beyond to get Nellie emptied. 

This then freed Nellie up to move on to her next location. She is positioned around Hampshire periodically, usually in areas where events are taking place to encourage people to recycle their plastic bottles. In the space of four months in 2019, Nellie collected around 16,000 plastic bottles which were then sent down the correct recycling routes, rather than ending up in landfill, or worse still, the ocean. 

10 shocking ocean plastic stats:

  • There were 425 litter items found per 100m of beach surveyed at last year’s Great British Beach Clean.
  • Every day around 8 million pieces of plastic make their way into our oceans.
  • 50% of this is single-use plastic & only 9% has ever been recycled.
  • 88% of the sea’s surface is polluted by plastic waste.
  • Between 8 to 14 million tonnes of plastic waste enters our ocean every year.
  • Britain contributes an estimated 1.7 million tonnes of plastic annually.
  • On UK beaches there are 5,000 pieces of plastic and 150 plastic bottles for each mile.
  • More than 1 million seabirds and 100,000 marine animals die from plastic pollution every year.
  • The world uses over 500 billion plastic bags a year – that’s 150 for each person on Earth.
  • 8.3 billion plastic straws pollute the world’s beaches, but only 1% of straws end up as waste in the ocean.

Anyone wishing to take part in a beach clean this week – please grab a bag and start filling it with litter at the local beach of your choice or join in the Final Straw event on Thursday 23rd. Other events are planned to take place at: 

Read more about TJ’s work with the Final Straw Foundation and get in touch if you’d like more information.

Sources: Condor Ferries / Marine Conservation Society

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Luke Haskell
21 September 2021