EFFORTS to rid Southsea beach of rubbish were successful, as environmentalists, children and families turned out to collect 116kg of rubbish from across the seafront.
Organised by The Final Straw Solent, The News and other local organisations, four events have taken place across the Solent today in the Great Solent Beach Clean.
It is part of the Marine Conservation Society’s Great British Beach Clean – happening across the UK.
Among the items found were: food packaging, coffee cups, cigarette butts, bottles, plastic cutlery, a syringe, straws, cans, disposable barbecues, a long metal pole, false eyelashes, three odd socks and a shoe.
About 200 people joined Sandy Luk, chief executive of the Marine Conservation Society and representatives from Southsea Beach Watch, which helped to set-up the event.
Sandy Luk said: ‘We’ve got about 10,000 volunteers across 400-500 beaches all doing the same thing and collecting data on the litter we find, and putting it into an international database so we can see what the development is in relation to the litter found on the beaches and in the sea.
‘The Great British Beach Cleans and the ones done throughout the year were one of the instigating factors that led to the plastic bag charge, which has really reduced the number of plastic bags we find on beaches.
‘It’s amazing people are so engaged and enthusiastic about the sea and beaches, they really care about the issues of plastic pollution. It’s fantastic to have seen all the volunteers out.’
Sergio Di Dino, event organiser from Southsea Beach Watch, said wet wipes are becoming a real problem, as they should not go down the toilet.
He said: ‘We will be taking data and measurements from the items we collect from the beach, to feed back to the charity.
‘It allows us to implement and lobby for new laws, for example around the use of cotton buds.
‘The surveys we’ve done show wet wipes are becoming a real issue.
‘We had about 150 people at the start of the clean which rose to 200, possibly 220, so I think that’s a good turnout.
‘Beach cleans bring the community together and little-by-little, we get the job done.’
Locals started at Rocksbys Restaurant and went as far along the shoreline as they wanted to.
Bob Miles, leader of the 73rd Portsmouth Scout Group, took 20 scouts to the event.
He said: ‘We’ve done a full survey across a 100-metre stretch of the beach for the Marine Conservation Society, by recording every single piece of rubbish we have picked up.
‘This goes towards the boys’ Global Challenge Badge. I can see this has had a very positive impact on them and they’ve enjoyed it.’
The boys picked up general rubbish such as coffee cups and bottle caps.
Steve West and partner Emma Jones travelled down from London for the beach clean, as they once attended the University of Portsmouth together.
Emily said: ‘We came down just for this. We’ve always cared about the environment but Southsea beach is close to our hearts because we went to university here and that’s where we met, so we thought why not help out. We’ve never done a beach clean before.’
Alison Young visited Southsea from Waterlooville to do her bit for the environment. She said: ‘I found a lot of plastic and cigarette butts. I’ve been going to beach cleans once a month for a year now – last time I found two dirty nappies!
‘We need to save our environment, plastic doesn’t just disappear it needs to be picked up. You see images of sea life with bits of plastic stuck on them and it’s awful.’