Cleaning Sea Park - Holywood
This was our first trip in a long time to Sea Park in Holywood and our first clean up in Holywood. Sea Park beach is a very popular beach for families and dog walkers, being just outside Belfast city centre and connecting to the coastal path that can carry you all the way along towards Bangor, Donagadee and beyond. It is a beautiful stretch of coast and the sand of the beach is litter with beautiful, colourful shells, from mussels to anemones. Sadly, the sand is also littered with waste.
During this clean up we, along with our amazing 7 volunteers swept the area around the car park and kids park, collecting more than 500 cigarette buds in the process, and then headed for the beach. We removed 5 full bin liners in the process of today's clean up, and removed hundreds of various forms of micro plastics. Tasha and her father collected more than 175 blue plastic ear buds, with every other volunteer removing many more as well. The other major player on this beach seemed to be sanitation products such as wet wipes and towels. There is a sewer entrance further down the beach so it is most likely that the source of this rubbish is from people carelessly flushing these items down their toilets. If you are one of these people, please realise that toilets are for poo, paper and pee only, anything else you flush away will wash up on a beach or in a dead animals stomach... The later you are responsible for.
Did you know that cotton buds are now readily available without containing the plastic stick. 200 of these more environmentally friendly ones are £1.05 in Superdrug as opposed to 100 of the plastic ones for 98p made by Johnson's who also unnecessarily cruelly test on animals.
Furthermore ladies, on average you will spend between £1, 750-£2,000 each year on sanitary items, and it is estimated that in a lifetime you will go through 16,800 tampons and or pads.
The tampons are generally made out of some combination of rayon, a manufactured cellulose fiber, and cotton. Most of which contain high levels of harmful chemicals such as dioxins and aldicarb. They also take a long time to biodegrade, (6-8 months for a tampon and the pads virtually never breakdown) and these chemicals will leach out of the materials and into the water to onto the skin of unsuspecting children, and or animals who happen upon them. Also think of yourself and the constant exposure you put yourself under if you are using even a limited number of pads, every month for 40 odd years. Either way, whatever you decide, please stop flushing them. Thanks.
As for cigarettes, a single butt can pollute a 200 metre circumference from its source if it reaches the water, releasing chemicals including ammonia, arsenic, butane and industrial strength solvents, that affect the pH and chemical make up of the water and threaten the health of many fish species and can wipe out tiny species of algae and plankton.
We also found a startling amount of broken glass and just thinking about the amount of children and dogs running barefoot on the sand gave me goosebumps, not to mention the fact that I was also barefoot.
It is always good to meet new faces at events, and just as nice to see returning volunteers coming down to make a difference in their local area, we had great fun discussing the problems of pollution and litter on our beaches and even discussing ideas and locations for future clean ups. We even made some exciting new contacts that we are looking forard to working with in the future.
With more clean ups planned in the area we are excited to get to talk to many more volunteers and see some of these brilliant people again. Next on the list is Helens Bay. Check out all up coming events on our main events page.
And you can help support us and our clean up efforts by purchasing some zero-waste items from our online store.
If you have any ideas or suggestions of areas in Northern Ireland that need a clean up then please leave a comment below or message us on facebook, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The sign, bags and pickers set out and ready for the day
Tasha from Clear Ripple Projects combing the seaweed for micro plastics
One of the great volunteers from V-kind doing her bit
Waste like this littered the beach, casting ugly shapes among the flowers and sand.
Rope and plastic based materials were tangled in seaweed all along the beach
We found hundreds of blue ear bud straws
I waded out to retrieve this crisp packet that had washed in among the mussels
Here's a bright idea, stop littering! A light bulb pulled from the sand.
The final haul. 5 bags worth of litter, mostly smaller items like earbuds, cigarettes, micro plastics and sanitary products.
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