Guernsey’s Environment Department organises coastal clean-up campaign

July 7th, 2011 by States of Guernsey Environment Department

Following the success of the first Guernsey Coastal Clean-up campaign last year the States of Guernsey Environment Department is organising the campaign again for 2011.

The Coastal Clean-up will be held over the weekends of 16 and 17 July and 23 and 24 July 2011.

The first Guernsey Coastal Clean-up in 2010 was part of the world-wide celebrations for the International Year of Biodiversity.

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 or tubs.

The Environment Department is particularly asking people to look out for plastic rubbish on the beach.

Litter collected from Champ Rouget, Chouet on 26 June 2011 (click image to expand - ©RLLord)

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 two weekend 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 Oystercatchers, Dunlin, Knot, Sanderling and Curlew.

dunlin, Calidris alpina, searching for food in Belle Greve Bay on 11 February 2009 (click image to expand - ©RLLord)

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 “Any coastal litter is undesirable and we see a lot of marine litter washed up around the island. We were delighted with the response last year and hope as many as possible will want to join in the Coastal Clean Up events again. 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.”

If you would like to help to turn the tide on litter, please contact the Environmental Services Unit on 717200 or email env @ gov.gg to let the Department know which beach you’d like to clean up and the date.

 

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