Cleaning Helen's Bay

This was our 15th clean up, and the first time we have hosted an event in the rain, which is shocking when you think of where we live (Northern Ireland) and how much rain we usually get. Despite the downpour the day before and the continued rain throughout the morning we had a great group of 10 volunteers who made it down to Helen's Bay for the Clean Up.

Working along the beach and on a small section of the coastal path we managed to removed 9 bags full of litter from the beach, filled with thousands of tiny pieces of plastic, sanitary products, cigarettes, baby wipes and bottles.

Helen's Bay is a beautiful beach and a very popular spot in North Down at this time of year, there are also many wild animals living near by from foxes and rabbits to several species of bird including cormorants, black headed gulls and oyster catchers. Not to forget the seals that can be spotted in the waters all along the coastline from Belfast to Bangor and beyond. The type of litter we were finding is harmful to all of these species. And we were glad to remove so much in one go, but also saddened to think that by this time next week , it could look as if we had never been here.

The time really has come for us to consider our purchases and think on our daily actions. Every item that gets sent to landfill is one too many. Every plastic bottle is one too many, especially as 91% are not recycled and of the 9% that are, less than 10% are recycled more than once. So when you think about it, 1% of plastic bottles get recycled in the sense we all believe recycling should work. We buy millions of bottles in the UK every day, think how much waste from plastic bottles alone that is creating, of a product that takes 1000's of years to break down.

We have started up a weekly blog post series called 5 simple swaps, providing ideas on how we can swap plastic and wasteful products for more environmentally friendly options, both at home and when we are out and about. Check out this weeks post HERE.

Here are the images from this weekends clean up;

Some of our volunteers hard at work searching amoung the sand for micro plastic and sanitary products washed up in this cove.

More of our volunteers sweeping the main beach at Helen's Bay

Disposable cups washed up on the rocks.

This guy was hard at work all morning, no rock was left unclimbed and unturned.

Plastic fiber caught among the seaweed

A burst football found up on the grassy banks

Someone left their sunglasses behind

A burst orange balloon, no longer fun for kids, and certainly no fun for the animals that could swallow it.

A collection of small plastic fragments washing up on the beach

Some micro plastics caught in the shredded sewweed

A bag almost full of sanitary pads and wipes, there is so much plastic in these products that it takes years to breakdown and they end up everywhere.

Empty bins and trash all around, so close and yet so far.

9 bags of litter removed from the beach today, well done every one who came to help!

#helensbay #beachclean #beach #environmenal #environmentalism #operationcleanup #cleanup #clearrippleprojects #microplastic #singleuseplastic #plasticpollution #pollution #oceanconservation

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