This year’s Big Channel Islands Beach Clean saw 367 volunteers hit local beaches during their exercise hours to pick-up ocean debris. More than 800kg was collected from across the Channel Islands.
The volunteers were made up of 190 from Guernsey, collecting 441kg of waste, 25 in Alderney who collected 124kg, Sark had 15 volunteers with 42kg and in Jersey 137 people took part with a total of 195kg.
“This year was a huge success with a big increase in the number of participants and the amount of waste collected – more than double on both accounts. Our communities really came together, despite being physically apart, and achieved something amazing; a safer environment for wildlife,” explains Lorna West, Outreach Officer, Alderney Wildlife Trust.
The event took place across Alderney, Guernsey, Herm, Sark and Jersey between 12th-14th February and was organised by local environment groups; Alderney Wildlife Trust, The Clean Earth Trust, La Societe Serquaise, Little Feet Environmental (Jersey) and The National Trust for Jersey.
“We were wonderfully overwhelmed by the number of entries we received over the weekend and into the following week. A beautiful example of ‘Guernsey Together’ community spirit during these unusual times, and whilst the amount of waste was devastating to look at, it was a joy to read and share in everyone's experiences,” adds Helen Quin, Community Engagement, The Clean Earth Trust.
Participants, a mix of regular beach cleaners, newbies, individuals and families, were asked to choose a beach and send what they found, along with the weight and a photo to their local environment groups.
Some of the most unusual finds included lego, packs of bicarbonate soda from Portugal, a water bottle form Turkey, keyboard keys and a toilet seat but mostly the waste was made up of the usual; fishing nets, fishing lines, rope, plastic pieces, plastic bottles, bottle caps, car parts, boat parts, cable ties, plastic cutlery, tennis balls, toothbrushes, insulation, bagged dog faeces, food wrappers, gloves, shoes, face masks and polystyrene.
Shakira Christodoulou, La Societe Serquaise comments: “Sark fought back against lockdown to give nine beaches a thorough spring-clean - more than we've ever achieved before for the Big Beach Clean, even if the traditional tea and cake finish together was lacking! I'd like to thank everyone from La Société Sercquaise, Sark Community Blooms, and Sark's home-schoolers who joined in.”
The Clean Earth Trust would like to invite continuing beach cleaners to keep on submitting their finds, which will be added to their on-going data project monitoring ocean waste across the Bailiwick. If you want to get involved send the date, beach, weight, number of volunteers, how much time was spent beach cleaning, a list of finds (inc. the count of each item) and a photo to firstname.lastname@example.org or join the team for a group beach clean following lockdown.