As I watched this tractor tow a Barber Surf Rake up and down the beach the other day, I was reminded of some scenes from that flawed but minor classic film - Westworld. Set in a futuristic Disney-like amusement park, guests can check into themed regions and live out fantasies as Medieval knights, Roman noblemen or gunslingers - interacting with sophisticated robots that are virtually human. The guests literally tear up the town each night and while they sleep off their hangovers and recover from their brawls, there's a huge clean up operation taking place.
With companies like Rockland and D'Hooghe making similar devices there's clearly some business to be had cleaning up the mess folks leave behind. Sure, the clever clogs that design these beach brushes can have them lift up everything from cans to cigarette butts but if there was more focus and support for preventative measures like this, then perhaps we would need less machinery on the beach.
Now the councils should be congratulated for spending our money on this gear but the motivation may be just as much about much by keeping tourists on the beach as the broader environmental picture. Yep, the Surf Rake is kept busy at this time of year. Outside the holiday season, the beaches seem to get much less attention though often the heavier seas wash more crap ashore.
There's no easy answers to keeping beaches clean but less packaging and less plastic will do for starters.
I'm not sure if they are still on the go, but there was local manufacturer of bottled water that used a surfer logo on their packaging. Guess what? A few eejits were climbing over themselves to get some dosh and - this raises eyebrows - the company in question was keen to point out how they would be donating funds to groups like the SAS. Well, their bottle was still rattling round the beach the other day. I mean come on, water in plastic bottles - do we really need it? I hold my hands up and say I've bought bottled water. Hardly a crime, perhaps. At least I re-use the bottle and when it cracks I'll stick it in the recycling bin. I think though, I'll start to Surf Like A Girl from now on.