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Eyesore at the seashore as Sussex beachgoers leave a mess
Brighton beach was the place to be at the weekend as thousands of sunseekers sizzled on the pebbles.
On the hottest day of the year so far, the bustling seaside scene was pretty as a postcard.
But as the sun rose yesterday morning, the ugly side of Brighton’s summertime scorcher was laid bare for all to see.
Tonnes of tin cans, food wrappers, bottle caps and nappies lay strewn across the stones, with seagulls picking their way through the trash.
Early morning strollers wrinkled their noses in disgust at the mess, while nearby traders blamed lazy beachgoers for not taking their rubbish home.
Michele Chilton, 39, who works at Castor and Pollux art shop on the seafront, said the beach had been left looking like a “tip”.
She said: “I just don’t understand why people don’t throw their litter away.
“That is the thing that annoys me. There are so many bins. I just don’t understand why they come to somewhere beautiful and make a mess of it.”
On Saturday, more than 300 volunteers from the Barefoot Wine Beach Rescue Project picked up left-behind litter, including a walking stick and a pair of plastic Mick Jagger lips.
And yesterday, after the last of the weekend visitors had gone, Brighton and Hove City Council sent out its own army of nearly 40 beach cleaners to rid the beach of rubbish.
More than 90 tonnes of trash was cleared, double the usual amount on a summer weekend.
Street cleaner Louise Wilder, 38, complained that the beach had been “absolutely trashed” by visitors.
She said: “I usually clean up the streets but this morning I have been brought down to help.
“I think it is pretty disgusting really. I wouldn’t go anywhere and just leave rubbish lying around.
“There are bins everywhere.
There is no hardship in just putting your rubbish in the bin as far as I am concerned. I think people need to be reminded of their responsibilities.”
Mike Moon, operations manager at council waste department Cityclean, confirmed that it had been the “busiest weekend so far in the city”.
He said: “The areas most in need of attention for rubbish removal were, unsurprisingly, the busiest areas on the seafront. The main focus of the clean-up was between the piers and along towards Hove where the Paddle Round The Pier event was taking place.
“Additional staff were called in to help clear the beaches, costing about £3,000 for the whole weekend.”
However, some infuriated traders suggested that the local authority needs to do more to keep the seafront clean.
Jack Mills, 80, proprietor of the Brighton Smokehouse fish shop, said: “We probably don’t have enough rubbish collectors, not that they don’t work hard, because they do. We’ve got a guy down here who has been here for years.
“But my goodness, if you left so much as a sweet paper when I was a child you would get a smack round the ear. People should have been trained when they were small children.”
Frazer Smith, 35, of Telscombe, owner of the Beadazzle gift shop, said he thought the council were doing “a pretty good job” of keeping the beach litter-free, but called for more bins to be put out on sunny weekends.
He said: “You have to remember they’ve got tonnes and tonnes of it to do and it is only one little man every 300 yards with a little grabber.
“It’s very rare that it is a mess, although Saturday morning was shocking.
“The bins often overflow but on a busy day you can’t have the wagons constantly coming up and down. By the end of the day it does look like quite an eyesore.
“I would say they need more bins, definitely.”
Hove MP Mike Weatherley agreed that Brighton and Hove City Council should provide more beachfront bins on busy weekends – but said beachgoers should also take responsibility for their own trash.
He said: “I don’t think that it is too much to ask that people take any rubbish that they create when visiting our wonderful beaches.
“If everyone just took care of the rubbish that they created then it would really help and save a lot of taxpayers’ money having to be spent on clearing it all up.
“However, given that this is a common problem when the weather is good, it would help if the council would provide additional bins to cope with the increased levels of rubbish.”
But a council spokeswoman said: “There were 12 additional bulk bins on the beach over the weekend and extra orange bins for people to place their litter.
“Obviously there comes a point where you can’t put out too many bins before people can’t walk along the seafront.”
Fighting on the beaches in litter battle
The Argus is taking the fight to the beaches in the battle to keep them clean.
As part of our Take It Home campaign, we are holding a clean-up day later this month in a show of civic pride against litterers.
The clean-up is in conjunction with the Marine Conservation Society and takes place in Rottingdean on July 14.
We want to see as many people as possible at the event, which starts at noon and also includes a litter survey.
Last year, we joined 62 volunteers to clean up Brighton beach and picked up more than 30 huge bags of rubbish.
More volunteers are also needed to organise beach cleans around Brighton and Hove later in the year.
Caroline Lucas, MP for Brighton Pavilion, said: “In this beautiful weather it’s fantastic that so many people – both residents and tourists – are drawn to our great beaches, but it’s also deeply disappointing that some visitors fall into the habit of leaving their litter behind rather than taking it away.
“I’m fully behind the Take It Home campaign to encourage everyone enjoying time down at the beach to tidy up after themselves and help keep the shores of Brighton and Hove clean for everyone."
Alex Kapbalb, 45, Ukraine, on a day trip from London: “Yesterday it was Sunday, there were thousands and thousands of people here.
"Last year it was perfect, I’ve been here five times, it was clear last year. But this year is the first time it’s been like this. Of course people, if they eat something they must look after it themselves, there are rubbish bins everywhere.”
Jan and Mark Doel, 62, from Sheffield, on holiday: “We do appreciate that local government has been really squeezed, they aren’t allowed to put up council tax and their grants have been reduced from central government so it’s been tough, I think, on local authorities who have to do things like pick up litter. Not bad work considering the circumstances.”
Ferial Youssef, 32, and Ashraf Roshdy, 36 from Bromley, on holiday: “We are from Egypt, the beaches where we go to are very well maintained. We really noticed that the beaches here are really not clean.”
Ildiko Pappova, 33, works at Jaws Fish and Chips, lives in Brighton: “Every weekend it is the same. It is not because of the city cleaners, it’s because of the other people coming here to enjoy the beach. They don’t care, there are rubbish bins but they don’t put their rubbish in the rubbish bins.”
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