I recently watched a video which showed a couple collecting bagfuls of litter from around a rocky coastline. It was sobering to see the amount of litter which had been left behind by visitors to this beautiful spot. However, the greater shock came when the couple walked to the water’s edge and calmly tipped all the carefully collected rubbish straight into the sea. The point they were making was that two litter-picking individuals could have no impact whatsoever on the many millions of tonnes of plastic waste currently polluting our oceans.
I understand their bleak message, but refuse to admit defeat. It is never time to give up hope. And thankfully I’m not alone in this conviction. Over the past four days, volunteers have gathered around our shores for the Great British Beach Clean. Organised by the Marine Conservation Society, along with other like-minded environmental groups, the Beach Clean brought people together to remove and recycle tonnes of accumulated rubbish. Though it may not have made even the slightest dent in the amount of plastic pollution in the sea, each of these local events has made a difference.
Whereas the couple who threw all the rubbish back into the sea demonstrated that people are the problem, everyone who joined the Great British Beach Clean discovered that people can also be the solution.
I couldn’t make it to the coast this weekend, so I opted for a street clean instead. Armed with my Litterati app, I recovered and recycled 30 pieces of rubbish from my neighbourhood. I was a little sad that people weren’t taking more responsibility for their local environment, but I did see one person pick up and recycle his rubbish… so I’m not giving up hope.
And I had to chuckle at the rather apt title of the book I rescued from a hedge as I walked home…