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World Oceans Day

Who enjoyed a visit to the beach yesterday? The start of summer is upon us so out come the buckets and spades and coastal day trips are planned for the sunny weekends.

Unfortunately, when I visit the beach, I do not only see the sand, pebbles and the sea. I see the remnants of an invasion. A catastrophe! Ice lolly wrappers, drinking straws and cigarette butts litter the beach and are trapped in the seaweed.

Everybody has a lightbulb moment or a ‘life-changing’ experience that forces them into action that they have no option but to proceed with. My moment was when I stumbled upon a huge green fishing net decorated with numerous juvenile small spotted cat sharks. I couldn’t ignore my overwhelming feelings of anger and grief, that day literally changed my life.

I got to work. Fast forward through google research and volunteer gathering using smiles and the bribe of refreshments, and I have since organised many beach cleans in two locations that really needed a good tidy up.

My son’s school asked me to come and speak to his Year Group about what I do due to their recent topic of ‘The Beach.’ Standing in front of 90 children did frighten me a little as I had full reign of the presentation without any guidelines or outcome. I just hoped they would listen and be engaged. I needn’t have worried! Matching natural beach objects with the animal it belonged to held their attention and they were shocked to know our litter is the most dangerous threat to marine life.

After this positive experience, I decided to invite the children from my school to one of my adopted beaches to gather sea treasure for a collage and collect litter as we went. Over 30 people attended on a sunny Easter holiday week day and one of the collages is featured above.

I have seen first-hand that children do care about all life and will protect it at all cost if given the opportunity and guidance. Our oceans are under extreme pressure to thrive with over-fishing, pollutants, our love for plastic and just not taking our rubbish home. If we all filled a bag up of litter from the beach, I guarantee it makes a difference, who wants to help?

 

 

Kerry Briffitt is Eco-Schools Co-ordinator at Hempstead Junior School

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