For the second year running our Beachwatch event was the largest in Suffolk, if not the whole of the UK. 170 people helped to collect 1,100 Kg (1.1 tonnes) of rubbish when they took part in this national event run by the Marine Conservation Society to clear up local beaches and prevent harm to wildlife.
Organised by Andrew Cassy, BT sustainability champion at Adastral Park in Suffolk, and supported by the Ipswich and Felixstowe district scout groups, the event attracted many children, local people & BT volunteers. Over the course of 6 hours they cleared a remote stretch of beach at the Suffolk Wildlife Trust Trimley Nature Reserve.
As the area is so remote, the rubbish is not left by walkers – but is washed ashore. It is just along the coast from Felixstowe, one of the country’s biggest ports. A chartered fishing boat sailor said after the event that “…he was gobsmacked to what [a] difference we had made on the fore shore, it really stood out and was noticeable from the river so well done to all involved we really made a difference ”
The beach was adopted by Adastral Park in 2009 and is a 2.5 mile stretch along the estuary, from Fagbury Point (along the Orwell shoreline, adjacent to the Suffolk Wildlife Trust Trimley Marsh nature reserve) to Loompit Lake. The coast is a major feature for Suffolk, attracting many visitors and locals. It is also very sensitive to climate change, erosion and other environmental factors, especially pollution.
Andrew said: “This annual Beachwatch event now forms a key part of Adastral Park’s ongoing social responsibility and community engagement activities – to raise awareness and take action on local environmental issues. It is only through co-ordinated action and engagement with all the organisations who make this possible that we can achieve such a great result.”
Unusual items collected this time included an old necklace box, football cap, plastic skeleton and drain cover.
Andrew concluded: “The scouts really helped to make a huge difference yet again thanks to their support and logistical co-ordination in running the event. Not only does the environment and wildlife benefit, but the individual girls and boys can also earn community and environment badges through taking part. ”
In Suffolk, Beachwatch (and the year-round Adopt-a-Beach scheme) is promoted and co-ordinated by the Suffolk Coast and Heaths Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty team. In conjunction with Suffolk Coastal District Council, they provide volunteers with equipment to make the task easier and help keep them safe in the process. Suffolk Wildlife Trust kindly hosted our event and opened up their visitor centre, with Trimley Estate providing much needed overflow car parking. BT lead the event and provided a minibus and drivers. Adnams brewery provided a drinks voucher for all participants – cheers!