The Brighton beach posse on a mis­sion... to bin the bad stuff

... and look what they did in a few hours

Daily Mail - - News -

why do they still have them in the fruit and veg sec­tion?’ she asked. ‘The big chal­lenge is to erad­i­cate sin­gle-use plas­tic full stop.’

She says she has now be­come so wor­ried about the quan­ti­ties of plas­tic in the sea that she has vir­tu­ally given up eat­ing fish.

A few miles away, in the East Sus­sex county town of Lewes, I came across an equally im­pres­sive Great Plas­tic Pick Up in the woods be­tween the lo­cal play­ing fields and the main route to the port of Ne­whaven. In a mat­ter of min­utes, or­gan­iser Steven Sparks had filled an en­tire bin liner with plas­tic bot­tles, a mo­tor­bike bat­tery and a lot of beer cans.

‘I’ve been blown away by the amount of stuff we’ve found – es­pe­cially the amount of McDon­ald’s pack­ag­ing.’ The near­est McDon­ald’s, he ex­plained, was al­most ten miles away. ‘So I sup­pose it must take peo­ple around ten miles to eat a meal and then they chuck it out of the win­dow here.’

His six-year-old son, Austin, was baf­fled by a strange plas­tic dis­cov­ery in the un­der­growth. We old­timers had to ex­plain that it was an an­cient form of en­ter­tain­ment known as a cas­sette tape. There were many young chil­dren here, all of them with an im­pres­sive en­thu­si­asm for the task in hand. He­len Parkyns had come with an added in­cen­tive – a freshly-baked le­mon driz­zle cake to be shared among all will­ing helpers af­ter­wards.

Her hus­band, David, and his friend, Paul Den­nis, had done some com­par­a­tive stud­ies on their find­ings. The ‘best be­fore’ date on one crisp packet showed that it was at least 12 years old and yet it had hardly de­te­ri­o­rated. Next to it, they had dis­cov­ered an old pair of shoes which had moulded away to vir­tu­ally noth­ing.

A fur­ther 12 miles to the east, a sim­i­lar ex­er­cise was un­der way on the beach at Cuck­mere Haven as An­gela Tucker and friends rounded up bags of plas­tic bot­tles, plas­tic ties, plas­tic straws, plas­tic nets and lines – plus two dog leads, one flip- flop and a lunch­box still packed with its owner’s lunch.

‘It was quite ther­a­peu­tic and we man­aged to have a laugh,’ she said. ‘It’s a good feel­ing to know, at least for to­day, this beach is clean.’

THE sen­ti­ment was echoed na­tion­wide. No one re­garded this as a chore. Ev­ery­one seemed very pleased that the Mail had got peo­ple to­gether in this way and they would gladly do it again.

This is a cause which unites peo­ple of all ages and out­looks wher­ever they are.

Take Lon­don caterer Hugh Walker who has taken ex­tended leave from work to cy­cle around Bri­tain’s en­tire coast­line sign­ing up cafes to a scheme to re­fill any water bot­tle for free (@hugh­sre­fill­tour). It is go­ing to take him months. Hav­ing got as far as the south-west coast of Scot­land this week­end, he couldn’t quite reach the near­est Great Plas­tic Pick Up in time – so he has now re­solved to do one every day for the rest of his tour, start­ing this morn­ing in Gar­lieston Bay.

Rich pick­ings: Robert Hard­man joins the Brighton vol­un­teers

Ca­su­ally dis­carded: Vol­un­teers with some of the 30 bags of rub­bish they col­lected on Brighton Beach

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