Saturday, September 16, 2006

Ear We Go Again

Lies, damn lies and statistics! Well, maybe so Mr.Twain, but here's one for the record. Today on Porthtowan beach, about two dozen Surfers Against Sewage (SAS) volunteers took 20 minutes to collect over 600 of the plastic sticks that end up on our beaches when you take a cotton bud and flush it down the loo - instead of binning it.

As mentioned earlier, Beach Bum, Sea Nymph & Nippers took part in the SAS Beach Clean - part of a wider programme running this weekend organised by the Marine Conservation Society. Something similar was going on on over 70 beaches in Cornwall.

We collected and bagged everything from shotgun cartridges, beer cans, sweet wrappers to tampon applicators. The cotton bud sticks were an eye opener. I had no idea that there was so much ear cleaning going on in Kernow. Perhaps it's the prevalence of Surfer's Ear . The sewage filtering screens, however, have mesh sizes large enough to let them slip through. Then they end up on the beach, along with all the other predominantly plastic crap that plague our shores.

Another "novelty" were the literally thousands of tiny plastic beads that are used in polymer production processes. These get shipped around the oceans and inevitably, either through cargo spillage or otherwise, get washed ashore. See for yourself. Next time you stretch out on the sand, take a look around. You'll find all manner of crud within arm's reach. Sad to say, these days, I reckon there's a lot of us that just get used to it. Part of the seascape. Hopefully, this little exercise in environmental awareness will keep our Nippers sussed, not complacent.

Fortunately, it wasn't all wallowing in waste. We actually had fun. The SAS dudes organised some "competitions" for the folks involved that involved collecting specific waste items within a certain timeframe. I suspect that Andy, who had thought up the bead and bud collection, is probably the sort of person who would have pulled the legs off spiders as a child, but his £50 prizes for these two "events" fairly galvanised the volunteers. After much frantic scrabbling over rocks, stream and sand, I'm stoked to say that Team Bum & Co. pulled off a win and made haste to the ice cream shop with our winnings. Callestick, of course.

Anyway, in case you haven't figured it out yet, SAS are fighting the good fight. Go on soldier, your beaches need you - enlist now!

No comments: