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Brighton beach clean the biggest yet
7:30am Tuesday 18th September 2012 in News
An army of volunteers swapped a Sunday lie-in for swooping Brighton beach for litter as part of The Argus' Take it Home campaign. Tim Ridgway reports.
Thank you all – this was the message to the army of people who pulled on their gloves and picked up a bin bag for a beach clean.
Scores of people responded to the call to arms from The Argus to tidy up our seafront in what organisers said was the biggest ever turn out for such an event.
We joined up with the Brighton Sea Life Centre and the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) for the giant rubbish collection on Brighton beach.
With the support of a team of volunteers from Asda, the result was dozens of bags of rubbish and a lot more pleasant seafront for us all to enjoy.
Among the items picked up were runner beans, hair nets, barbeque skewers, cigarette stubs and fishing wire.
Volunteers agreed it was a fun thing to do while highlighting an important issue.
Chris Richardson, 48, of Hove, said: “I have wanted to do this for ages but I have never had the guts to try it.
“I glad there are so many people that have turned out.
“I think people need to be more careful when they are having barbeques.”
Renate Miller, 67, of Arundel Place, Brighton, has just moved to the city from the Isle of Wight.
She said: “I have never done this before. We moved here recently and I wanted to get involved in the community.
“I think it’s a pretty well kept beach but I’m quite happy to keep it clean. I will do it again.”
Ed Santry, the MCS volunteer co-ordinator, said the beach clean was part of a national campaign aimed at stamping out the rise of beach litter.
The campaign aims to not only clean beaches but survey the litter thrown away. The group says it is a vital exercise in highlighting the damage done by the many different types of rubbish that is carelessly left behind.
He said last year there were 300 events with about 5,000 people taking part.
Mr Santry said: “This is the biggest turn out we have ever had in Brighton.
“Rubbish on the beach is not only unsightly but it can have a massive impact on the wildlife that live in, or near, the sea.
“We tend to find a lot of plastic but there can be all sorts of things which can be harmful.
“The key thing is making people aware about what damage they can cause.”
He added: “Sometimes you look at a beach and think it is clean but then when you start to really look for it you are shocked to see how much there is.”
The Argus’ Take It Home campaign was launched this summer when people visiting Brighton and Hove’s seafront left 23 tonnes of litter on the beach.
This is despite teams from Brighton and Hove City Council working from 6am to 10pm to keep it tidy.
Council chiefs said sometimes the issue was the logistics of moving the litter away from the beach in the short time when there are not people using it.
Pete West , the council’s environment committee chairman, said: “The beach is relatively clean which shows that we as a council are doing our job.
“But the key thing here is communication and getting the message across to those people who leave their rubbish.
“We hope the message is getting across to more and more people that if they come to enjoy the seafront then they should take responsibility for their rubbish.
“We want people to take it home. Thanks to The Argus for supporting this fantastic cause.”
Jenny Smith, senior aquarist at Brighton Sealife Centre, said: “There seemed to be a really good range of people which is really positive.
“We realise how important the sea is as it feeds into where we keep our turtles so we often arrange beach tidy ups.
“In the past we have found all sorts of strange things – watches, glasses, bits of clothing. Once we even found some bullets.”
Seanny Goodale, 21, was one of 13 workers from two Asda stores in Brighton to swap their supermarket work for a morning volunteering on the beach.
He said: “I’m Brighton born and bred, I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else, and the beach has a hold on anyone that lives here.
“For me personally I love volunteering so when the opportunity came up to give something back to the community I jumped on it.
“Every person can help.”
Patrick Lowe, 44, of Ridgeview, Coldean, said: “I think the big turnout shows there is a big level of concern about keeping our beach tidy.
“I have not found any big pieces but it is small things like bottle tops which can cause some real damage.”
John Kitchen, 70, of Saltdean, said: “When I walk on the beach I often just see people leaving stuff around.
“I’ve seen pictures in The Argus of the amount of rubbish left behind on the beach.
“I don’t understand why people don’t put it in the bin.”