On Sunday 18th February 2018, The Final Straw Emsworth hosted it’s first official beach clean up on The Hayling Billy Trail supported by The Blue Bell Inn Emsworth . Further support was encouraged on social media outlets and by word of mouth throughout the village. Two hours were set aside to try to make a difference on the local coast line. 30 attendees we’re booked to join us, and we planned to tackle everything that we could see in the time we had set.
Arrival time came and the volunteers started to arrive. Then some more, and then more. In the end there was 75 volunteers from our area who all have an interest in saving our coast line and helping with our plastic crisis. We armed them with litter pickers and gloves and together we all set about to make a difference.
After an hour and a half, and people with purple council bin bags spread to the left and the right, we called everyone in and started our pack up. We had a lot of thanks to say, to a lot of people. We could never have imagined how many full bags we had to arrange around one lone bin on the beach. We began tying up all the bags and counted them in. 35. We had collected, between 75 fantastic people, 35 full bags of rubbish of all shapes and sizes off of the beach. We had crisp packets, drinks bottles and hundreds of sweet wrappers and packaging. One family helping out, counted that they had collected up over 60 plastic cotton bud sticks in an area of 5 meter squared. Yet, the main bulk of the work that all of our volunteers did was back breaking. Down on hands and knees and sifting through the seaweed and sand for micro-plastics. Actually you didn’t need to sift too hard. If you looked across the sand you could see reds, blues, greens and pinks all interrupting the natural beautiful colours that you should see on a beach. These are the microplastics that are killing our wildlife and polluting our oceans. Bags were filled with these and it took so much determination from all of us to collect as much as we could. We didn’t get it all. We needed hours more but we did our best and that’s all we could ask for. We even found handfuls of nurdles. Now these were in their thousands, and we collected handfuls of them. They are tiny oval or round pellets that look like lentils and make up all of our plastic products. They are hard to see and hard to collect up, but these particles of plastics out in our environment is what is filling the stomachs of our sea life along with micro plastics.
We need to encourage people to start making wiser choices in our day-to-day lives and cut back the amount of single use plastics we purchase. Together we can lower the 8 tonnes of plastics thrown into the oceans each day, and stop there being more plastic in the ocean than fish by 2050. It needs to be us, the general public, that makes the change. We can start making that change and together we can make a difference. Today has been proof of this. With the support of our local shops, who are providing us with products in less packaging, we can all do it. We are proving that shopping local has many benefits, to both the consumer and the environment.
Finally, it was time for a photo op and to thank all of the volunteers that gave up their precious time on this beautiful Sunday. This wouldn’t have been possible without them. Look at their amazing faces.
Feeling on a high from this beach clean up we are pushing on. The next litter pick up is scheduled for the 31st March on Emsworth’s Foreshore. We are hoping for an even larger number of attendees.
We are encouraging every business in our local area to cut down their plastic use, and we are not stopping at just plastic straws like we’d originally thought. That’s just the beginning. We are hoping to see Emsworth and our surrounding towns using minimal plastic, and that we can then spread The Final Straw Emsworth to include Portsmouth and Southampton, finally joining up with the final straw Winchester and perhaps even creating Hampshire. That’s the dream, because together we can. We just need your support. Yours and our local council and we can achieve great things.
Please search out The Final Straw Emsworth on all social media channels and get behind us to support the cause. We need you. You don’t have to be from Emsworth, so come on over and have a look at our pages to see in what ways you can help. Can you help us start the next area of The Final Straw? Can you help us educate the children of Hampshire on plastics and ensure they make the best choices for them and our planet? If so, then please get in touch. We would absolutely love to hear from you.
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