Portsmouth MPs turn out to support Eastney beach clean set up by school girl and Final Straw Foundation
POLITICIANS from across the city have joined scores of people to support an Eastney beach clean set up by a Portsmouth school girl and the Final Straw Foundation.
Nine-year-old Billie Harris was inspired to start a beach clean near home in Eastney after helping out at an event run by anti-litter group Final Straw Foundation last year.
More than 60 volunteers turned out to collect more than 126kg of rubbish from the shoreline this weekend.
Schoolgirl Billie said she was thrilled that so many people wanted to help her protect wildlife and make the local area cleaner for everyone.
Billie said: ‘I’m just thankful really – every bit of rubbish that we pick up could stop an animal from getting hurt.
‘I came to my first beach clean and (Final Straw Foundation founder) Bianca (Carr) really inspired me.’
The Final Straw Foundation was founded in 2018, with hundreds of kilos of rubbish – ranging from fireworks to decades-old plastic packaging - cleared from beaches stretching from Warsash to Hayling Island.
The foundation last held a beach clean in Hayling Island in October, with three events planned since then having to be cancelled due to bad weather.
Bianca said the group is still seeing a huge amount of litter left behind by people visiting beaches across the area.
She said: ‘We can all be a bit more mindful. We can move from being a single use culture to a more reusable culture, and that would be amazing – there would be less
‘And it would make a big difference to Billie who then wouldn’t have to come to beach cleans to clean up our mess.’
Billie and Bianca were joined by MPs from across the city, who said that widespread behaviour change among resident’s was essential for dealing with a lot of the plastics left across the city’s beaches.
The MP for Portsmouth South, Stephen Morgan, said: ‘Last year we saw the strength of feeling about our natural environment. Billie wrote to me about her concerns and she’s been keeping me informed.
‘It’s not right that we have to clean our beaches – people should be more respectful about our environment.’
Portsmouth North MP Penny Mordaunt said it was encouraging to see a large number of young people taking part in the day’s beach clean.
She said: ‘There are so many groups that do beach cleans around our coasts – obviously people are becoming more aware of how important discarding plastic is on sea life.