The Guernsey Coastal Clean-up Campaign

July 2nd, 2010 by States of Guernsey Environment Department

The Environment Department is organising two Coastal Clean Up weekend events (10th & 11th and 17th & 18th July) to celebrate the International Year of Biodiversity.

The Guernsey Coastal Clean Up is part of the world-wide celebrations of 2010 as the International Year of Biodiversity. The diversity of life on earth is crucial for human well-being and now is the time to act to preserve it. For information on events, initiatives and exhibitions across the UK visit www.biodiversityislife.net.

Families, companies, schools and voluntary organisations are being invited to get involved in helping to clean up litter from their favourite bit of coastline. People can choose to clean beaches or coastal grasslands – all that’s needed are sturdy gloves and plastic sacks.

The Environment Department is particularly asking people to look out for plastic rubbish on the beach. Plastics take between an estimated 450-1000 years to biodegrade. With an estimated 10% of all plastics discarded in the sea, they represent the most pervasive, persistent and hazardous form of litter in the marine environment.

A plastic bottle will take up to 450 years to degrade and releases damaging chemicals in the process. Some 70% of plastic waste in the world’s oceans is found on the sea floor, suffocating local marine life. The Great Pacific or Eastern Garbage Patch is a swirling mass of plastic refuse which floats between Hawaii and California is now five and a half times bigger than the UK.

The two week end clean up events will get the coastline in good condition just before the school summer holidays. This will benefit many families and visitors who enjoy a day at the beach but will also help provide a better habitat for Guernsey’s sea birds, particularly waders such Oyster Catchers, Dunlin, Knot, Sanderling and Curlew. Local ornithologists who ring sea birds regularly come across nests which include fishing net and plastic cord. Bird pellets also show evidence that plastic items such as pieces of pen and plastic bag have been picked up and eaten by sea birds.

Deputy Peter Sirett, Minister for the Environment, said “Coastal litter is on the increase and we see a lot of marine litter washed up around the island. We hope as many as possible will want to join in the Coastal Clean Up events to support the International Year of Biodiversity campaign. Anyone can get involved and all help will be appreciated, not just by residents and visitors but also Guernsey’s wildlife. Every tide will bring plastic bottles and bags, pieces of polystyrene and fishing litter to our shores but we’d also remind everyone going to the beach to take their litter home or use the coastal litter bins – all we should ever be leaving behind us are our footprints in the sand.”
If you would like to help to turn the tide on litter, please contact the Environment Services Unit, Tel: 717200 or env (at) gov.gg to let the Department know which beach you’d like to clean up and the date, or go to www.gov.gg/beaches and complete the form online.
The Environment Department is checking that its records for the Adopt-a-Beach scheme are still current – if your family or organisation has already signed up for the Adopt-a-Beach scheme be sure to let the Environment Department know, even if you’re not planning to take part in the Coastal Clean Up.

1 Response to “The Guernsey Coastal Clean-up Campaign”

  1. Wendy Sanders

    Just returned from 6 day holiday. Well done everyone saw virtually no litter and unlike here in Devon all the sea birds appeared to stay around the coast. I live 8 miles from the coast but unfortunately well intended local people throw out bread by the hand full – as a result we have sea gulls all day long . People and dogs often get dived bombed by the adults when their young appear to be under threat and it is not unknown when picnicking for folks sandwichs or ice cream cones to be snatched from their hands.
    Visited you 3 times in the 90’s and the island is still beautiful and still feels very safe. Would love to return but doubt if I will. Just too expensive for my limited income. Came as a 70th birthday treat and loved it.
    Thank You Wendy Sanders

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