We're supporting the 2 Minute Beach Clean. Are you?
Here at World First we are firm believers in responsible tourism. So when we heard about the 2 Minute Beach Clean recently, we were intrigued. Not because we were curious about what it is, but because it’s a brilliantly simple idea for keeping our beaches clean. And we think everyone should do it.
So… where does it come from and why is it important?
No one likes to go to a filthy beach on their holiday – especially when you go away to relax, have some fun and forget about all that junk back home. Yet sometimes we take it for granted that the beaches we visit won’t be littered with marine plastics brought in on the tide or by litter left by other beach goers. So it’s a shock to see plastic bottles on the shoreline. But what should we do about it? Complain to the council? Tut and walk past, vowing never to return? Or should we take matters into our own hands?
A simple solution for all of us
The 2 Minute Beach Clean is an initiative that was started in Cornwall by our good friend, writer, surfer and TV cook, Martin Dorey. He’s an avid beach cleaner and attends clean ups whenever he can on the beaches near his home. He’s seen a rise in the amount of litter that washes up, especially on out-of-town beaches or those further afield where there are no services or rangers. He also sees plenty of litter left by irresponsible beach goers.
Martin started picking up a few bits and pieces every time he went out to walk the dog or to go surfing. After a while he started to notice that he was actually starting to make a difference. That’s when the idea came to him to get more people involved. So now he’s trying to get all of us to do the same.
“It’s simple,” he says, “all you do is spend two minutes – no more – picking up a few bits of rubbish when you leave the beach at the end of the day. It might not seem like much at the time but it soon mounts up. And if we all did it, we wouldn’t have a problem at all!”
Martin insists that there’s no stigma to picking up other marine litter. In fact he thinks that it actively encourages others to take responsibility for their own little patch.
“At first I felt weird picking up litter. But it’s usually been washed clean by the sea so it’s not dangerous. It can be fascinating to see where it comes from. You’ll be surprised how far some of it travels!”
“Sometimes others have seen me pick up litter and have joined in or promised they will do it next time. That’s great. You don’t have to spend hours doing it so it’s no hardship. And you’ll benefit, from leaving the beach nicer than it was when you arrived. You’ll also feel great, I promise!”
Why bother to clear up?
It’s a good question. Apart from being unsightly, rubbish is also a health hazard, both to us and the marine environment. Plastics, like fishing detritus, old drinks bottles and packaging, do not biodegrade. Instead they break into smaller and smaller pieces which may be mistaken by fish, seabirds, mammals and cetaceans as food. The pieces cannot be digested so will slowly kill those who eat it.
Since the plastic pieces also attract toxins that occur naturally in seawater and concentrate them, there’s every chance that these bits of plastic, now poisonous, may get into the food chain. So if a plankton eats a piece of plastic, a little fish may eat it. A bigger fish may eat that. Then it could well end up on our plates!!!!
In addition, discarded ropes and fishing net, and even the plastic tops from drinks can six-packs, can entangle fish and sea birds. Nets lost at sea can also continue to ‘ghost fish’ long after they have been abandoned, so killing indiscriminately.
Every piece makes a difference
When you think about it, removing just one plastic bottle or piece of old fishing net from the beach, any beach, will prevent it from being washed out to sea and causing harm. Putting it in the recycling, or taking it home to put it in the rubbish means that it will no longer be a threat. That’s why the 2 Minute Beach Clean is so important. Because every piece matters.
How you can get involved?
It’s easy. Next time you go to the beach, take two minutes to do a mini beach clean. When you are done, take a snap of your haul on your phone and tweet it or post it to instagram using the hashtag #2minutebeachclean. Your picture will appear on the official website at www.beachclean.net where it will help to inspire others to do the same. The site also contains information on beach cleaning safety and news of how the campaign has been spreading far and wide. It’s being used currently by An Taisce, the National Trust for Ireland, as a campaign for their Clean Coasts project.
So what’s stopping you? Nothing!
Thanks for getting involved!