OPINION. Will we ever enjoy truly clean seas and beaches?

It is almost two years since one television programme managed single-handedly to spark a revolution.When Sir David Attenborough speaks the world seems to sit up, listen and act.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 25th September 2019, 7:00 am
Updated Saturday, 28th September 2019, 4:28 am
The sperm whale attempting to eat that bucket. Picture: BBC/Blue Planet
The sperm whale attempting to eat that bucket. Picture: BBC/Blue Planet

And so it did in the autumn of 2017 after an unforgettable episode of Blue Planet II.

The series featured hours of stunning footage from beneath the world’s waves. But the most memorable clip, narrated by Sir David, brought to the world’s attention the problems of plastic pollution as a sperm whale tried to eat a discarded plastic bucket.

It was shocking, doubly so for those of us who live by the sea.

It sparked a crusade to rid our beaches of the detritus either ditched over the side of ships at sea, or by people enjoying themselves and failing to take home their rubbish.

So today’s story about the annual Great British Beach Clean at Southsea last weekend is double-edged.

Yes, it is wonderful that the two-year-old clarion call from Sir David is still prominent enough in people’s minds for 200 volunteers to turn out to clear the beach of litter.

What is not so wonderful though is that those people managed to collect almost 80kg of waste, so much of which appears to have been discarded by irresponsible people sitting on the beach. For goodness sake: two circuit boards and a barbecue…

Their owners might have thought they would never get into the ocean, but it only takes one winter storm to uncover them, sweep them out to sea and then, perhaps, into the stomach of a passing dolphin.

Beach-cleans have long been held in the Portsmouth area and each year The News reports on the depressing outcome.

All those public-spirited volunteers deserve our thanks, but there is still a huge amount to be done before we change society’s attitude about what we do with our waste.