Young Taylor Edwards summed it up perfectly: ‘It’s a nice beach, but sometimes people don’t look after it.’ He was among 62 Year 3 pupils from Gomer Junior School, Gosport, who in turn were part of a 200-strong band of litter pickers helping to clear up the beach at Stokes Bay.
We are incredibly fortunate to live by the sea. Yes, we probably all take it for granted and the beaches on which we play, stroll and perhaps just sit and stare.
But how many of us would go out of our way to clear them of the tonnes of rubbish which is either left or washed up on them?
Which is why Taylor’s public-spirited action and that of his classmates is so important.
Litter is swamping our oceans and is washing up on beaches.
It kills wildlife, looks disgusting, is a hazard to our health and costs millions to clear up.
There are nearly 2,000 items of detritus for every kilometre on a British beach.
Marine wildlife gets entangled in litter and accidentally ingests it.
Turtles mistake plastic bags for jellyfish and the bags block their stomachs, often leading to death from starvation.
Seabirds mistake floating plastic litter for food, and more than 90 per cent of fulmars found dead around the North Sea have plastic in their stomachs.
Plastic litter on beaches has increased 135 per cent since 1994. Plastic never biodegrades. It just breaks down into small pieces but does not disappear.
Microplastic particles are now found inside filter feeding animals and among sand grains on our beaches.
All depressing stuff. And it will only get worse unless we educate the younger generation and engage them in protecting our beaches and wildlife.
And it does work. Look at how those born in the 1990s are now lecturing their parents and grandparents about the importance of recycling and other major green issues. They do so because they’ve grown up with it and studied climate change at school.
Let’s hope the cleaner seas and beaches campaign will have the same impact before it is too late.