Surfers Against Sewage Spring Clean

Surfers against sewage do a few beach cleans annually at many locations around the country. On Saturday 23rd March I participated in the one in Brighton, well Shoreham harbour to be exact.
It was a freezing cold, grey day and Shoreham harbour must be one of the worst beaches in the world, but when I am in Brighton it is my local break, so it makes sense to clean it! It was a far cry from the beautiful, sunny, empty beaches of Raglan that I usually clean, but a beach none the less so it is still important to make sure our rubbish does not end up in the sea.

I do not have the exact amount that I or anyone else in Brighton collected, however. Do know it was about 10 bags from Brighton alone. Beach cleans were held at 62 beaches around Britain, over 1500 people helped collect 4000kg of rubbish. . . .that is over 1000 bags of rubbish removed from our beaches and therefore away from the sea!






16th – 17th March Whitsands Bay, UK

I spent the weekend at Whitsands Bay in Cornwall, just the other side of the Tamar river to Plymouth. Whitsands is on the south coast of Cornwall, so more sheltered than most Cornish beaches but still very popular with surfers, and still gets its fair share of storms.


I did a Todays Catch on Saturday 16th as we were walking the dog along the beach. I was very surprised by the amount of rubbish on the beach, I think I had forgotten just how much more rubbish is in the UK than New Zealand.

I managed to collect a lot, mostly small pieces but also a massive buoy and  large white container.


But luckily I had lots of help….

IMG_6682 IMG_6750

Unfortunately I didn’t write a list of what I found, but from the pictures you can see that there was plastic all over the beach. I didn’t take a bag with me, but luckily I found a plastic bottle so managed to cram it full of all the small pieces I found.


Overall I would say the beach was still covered in plastic, but I definitely managed to collect a fair bit!

Coromandel Peninsula Nz

We explored the Coromandel peninsular for a few days in the last week of February. Overall the beaches were very clean, and most of the plastic found looked although it had been in the sea for a while.

I did a ‘Today’s Catch’ at Opoutere Beach, a lovely beach on the east coast of the Coromandel peninsular. It is a breading ground for the endangered New Zealand Dotterel, and we were lucky enough to see a few on our walk. Unfortunately I did find a lot of rubbish on this beach, I did not have time to write a list of the things I found, but as you can see from the picture, there was a lot.


This was my last Today’s catch in New Zealand for a while because I am back in the UK for 6 months.

But I am sure there will be plenty of beaches in need of a clean around the UK!!

A few New Zealand Beaches

For the last 3 weeks I have been road tripping around New Zealand, here is an update of my Catches:

1st stop GISBOURNE:

THE WORST BEACH I HAVE EVER SEEN….. I went for a 5km run along the beach one morning (14th Nov 2012), on my way back I started picking up the litter, I only lasted 500m because then I could not carry anymore. The striking thing was how many large items of plastic were on the beach, they mainly consisted of buckets and containers that looked like they had been on fishing boats. One even said ‘toxic’,I  hope the contents didn’t end up in the sea.

I also found a full can of Cody’s (Bourbon & Cola mix), a pair of shoes and a kids tricycle (had to put in a bin before I got back to our camp because i had too much to carry).

Because of the amount of stuff on the beach I only managed to pick up the large items, I dread to think how much could have been collected if I had more time or more hands.

2nd stop Rarangi beach, Marlborough

Didn’t do an official ‘Today’s Catch’ but went for a run from Rarangi beach to Whites bay, and only found one small piece of clear plastic & didn’t find any litter on Rarangi beach when spending time on the beach 🙂

3rd Stop: Kaikoura

Went to several beaches whilst looking for surf and Marine Mammals. Only found one blue cable tie and a shot gun shell in the whole area, shows how the currents, beaches and population in the area affects the amount of litter found.







We then travelled to the West coast of the south island, between West Port and Greymouth, again spending a lot of time on beaches because we were looking for surf, we only found 1  car Tyre on 1 beach. Then after heading over to Christchurch,  and surfing magnet bay, I found only one bit of green plastic…and saw 5 hectors dolphins (made my week!!!)

Overall amazed by how clean south island beaches were, but totally disappointed by Gisbourne….Think i need to make the 800km round trip from here and give it a another clean!!

Thursday 1st November 2012

Beach: Whale bay, Raglan.
Tide: Mid to low
Weather: Beautiful sunny spring afternoon with light onshore winds

Today’s Catch:

• 26 bottle tops / parts of bottle tops
• 1 plastic deodorant bottle
• 2 deflated balloons (one with attached string & plastic tie)
• Plastic tie from helium balloon
• 1 Glow stick
• 2 shotgun shells
• Inside of a biro pen
• Part of a plastic spade
• 8 pieces of fishing rope
• 3 pieces of man-made fabric
• 8 pieces of cellophane-type plastic
• 6 small pieces of pallet string tie
• 5 pieces of rubber-like tape
• A large piece of a plastic crate
• Piece of surfboard leash
• Clothes peg
• 37 medium sized pieces of miscellaneous plastic
• 47 Nurdles (Raw plastic pellets)
• 233 pieces of microplastics (>5mm)
• 32 small pieces of miscellaneous plastics
• 2 bottoms of aluminium cans
• 1 glass Bacardi bottle (including lid covered in mussels)
• 4 pieces of broken glass
1 blue plastic shaving

Beach status now: Depressing!! I could not believe the amount of microplastics on whale bay today; it is so daunting when you can see thousands of tiny pieces of plastic in the sand!  All the micro plastics I collected came from a small area of the beach ( about a  two meter square), imagine how much there must be on the coasts of New Zealand……..

Amount recycled: 80% Almost everything 🙂  Raglan recycle centre has started recycling almost all plastic, which is amazing!!
Amount re-used: 10% Clothes peg & surfboard leash
Amount in landfill: 10% – Just the rubber tape and broken glass

Blue Plastic Shavings

Almost every time I pick litter from the beach I find small pieces of blue plastic shavings, and I have always wondered where they come from. I came across this article on the New Zealand Herald website today:

Mystery plastic polluter owns up

It is very surprising these small pieces of plastic come from just one type of fishing practice; it makes me wonder how many of these small pieces of blue plastic floating in the ocean or sitting in animals stomachs!!!

MIDWAY : a film by Chris Jordan

Here is a trailer for a film about the plastic pollution on Midway Atoll. Midway Atoll is situated in the North Pacific Ocean, about halfway between USA and Asia, hence the name ‘Midway’. Because of its location, it is particularly susceptible to marine debris from the Pacific Gyre, resulting in the beaches getting swamped by plastic pollution.

This film is a bold reminder of the extent of our world’s plastic problem; it is such a horrible sight to see.

There are 1.5million Laysan Albatross inhabiting the Midway Islands, traces of plastic have been found in nearly all of these birds digestive systems, furthermore a third of Albatross chicks die due to plastic caused starvation!

Midway: a plastic Beach

The state of this Atoll demonstrates the extent of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, and really proves the severity of the world’s plastic problem. So there should be no excuses to collect litter off the beach, limit use of disposable plastics and recycle as much as possible!

International Coastal Clean Up Day

Beach: Ngarunui Beach, Raglan

Tide: Low – rising

Weather: Sunny but cold, first calm day after the storm

Today’s Catch:

  • 1 plastic flower pot
  • 1 ‘bingo’ pen
  • 1 plastic, netting fruit bag
  • 2 balloons one from ‘cancer society’
  • 1 cigarette packet
  • 1 cigarette butt
  • 1 lolly pop stick
  • 1 drinks straw
  • 1 long metal pole
  • 1 bucket handle
  • Part of a shotgun pellet
  • 10 bottle lids
  • 1 drinks bottle
  • 3 candy bar wrappers (one Cadburys)
  • 1 Large piece of polystyrene
  • 8 pieces of clear plastic wrapping
  • 12 pieces of pallet ties (some metres long)
  • 9 pieces of fishing rope
  • 38 small pieces of miscellaneous plastic
  • 19 Nurdles (Raw plastic pellets)
  • 53 pieces of other micro-plastics (<3mm)
  • 2 pieces of glass

Beach status now:  Not clean at all. If I had time, I think I could have found thousands of pieces of micro plastics. It is really depressing to see Nurdles on Raglan beaches, they cause huge problems for marine life as they look very similar to fish eggs, so get eaten & fill their stomachs, making them eventually starve.

Amount recycled: 30% all pieces of plastic, bottle lids and clear wrappers

Amount re-used: 10% Flower pot and metal bar

Amount in landfill: 60% (unfortunately) Everything else!

Marine debris + Kitten = hours of entertainment!

Catalyst: Plastic Oceans

Catalyst: Plastic Oceans  was recently aired on ABC in Australia.

This show is about the current research on marine debris by CSIRO (the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation) and it highlights the plastic pollution problem in Australia.

The flesh footed Shearwater populations on Lord Howe island are an example of how bad the plastic pollution problem has become; many shearwaters, both adult and chicks have been many found dead with stomachs full of plastic. Examinations of these birds show they are the most contaminated marine bird populations on the planet; they had concentrations of mercury up to 1000-3000ppm; anything above 4.3ppm is toxic to birds!
Plastic that has been in the ocean for many years acts as a sponge to contaminants in seawater, and they stick to the surface of the plastic. The surface of marine plastic has been found to contain 1000times more contaminants than in the surrounding seawater. This is also a major issue for humans, as these toxins accumulate up to food chain, ending with us!
So everyone needs to try and avoid using single-use plastics…and if it is absolutely necessary make sure they are reused or recycled!


Link to CSIRO website for more information on the marine debris project

Monday 27th August

Beach: Whale bay, Raglan

Tide: Mid – high (rising)

Weather: Sunny with showers and pretty windy.

Today’s Catch:

  • 1 piece of ‘Duplo’
  • Casing from a ‘Ambi Pure’ air freshener
  • Tick from a ‘Nike’ product
  • ‘Tallys’ wild berry ice cream lid
  • Piece of a fishing reel
  • Float from a fishing net
  • 2 clothes pegs
  • Plastic fork
  • Head from a spray bottle
  • 3 lolly pop sticks
  • 2 ear plugs (used by surfers)
  • 1 hair tie
  • Plastic attachment for a helium balloon
  • Part of a shot-gun shell
  • Handle part of a reel (probably from a boat)
  • 2 clothes pegs
  • 5 pieces of pallet ties
  • Piece of fishing lure
  • Peak part of a cap
  • 3 pieces of fibreglass
  • 2 pieces of boat insulation foam
  • 4 pieces of surfboard deck grip (one with ‘Gorilla’ logo)
  • 1 flip-flop
  • 1 sole of a shoe
  • Piece of chewed chewing gum (gross!)
  • 7 pieces of man-made material
  • 5 pen lids
  • 39 bottle lids (2 from ‘Anchor’ milk, 2 from ‘coca-cola’ company products)
  • 6 pieces of clear plastic wrapper
  • I piece of rubber
  • 11 pieces of polystyrene / foam
  • 28 small pieces of fishing rope / wire.
  • 103 small pieces of miscellaneous plastic
  • 8 large pieces of miscellaneous plastic
  • Glass bottle neck
  • 2 pieces of aluminium
  • 1 beer bottle lid

Beach status now: It was near high tide so there was less area to clean, but when I left I felt satisfied that I had cleared most of the rubbish.

Amount recycled: 60% – all pieces of plastic, bottle lids and clear wrappers

Amount re-used: 10% – Surfboard deck grip and clothes pegs

Amount in landfill: 30% – polystyrene, pieces of shoes and fishing rope & wire

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