Today marked the beginning of many coastal cleans, that the little team at CoconutBamboo.com will be part of. We are participating in the Million Mile Clean. An amazing campaign setup by the marine conservation charity Surfers Against Sewage.
Our family business is located in Bristol, and we are surrounded by coastlines spanning in almost every direction. From Bristol, to Weston, Wales to Devon and Cornwall, were in a great position to never be more than an hour or two away from a beach. We had recently taken a walk along Severn beach as we have family close by, so decided that we would start here gradually working our way further south over the next few months.
We were supplied with a full kit from Emma at SAS, that had everything we needed to get the job done, including bags, gloves and a sharps box. Thanks a million for this! On this occasion, our team included Neil, Charlotte, and our 2 children. Our daughter was extremely excited about playing her part, and really couldn't start fast enough. Armed with our clean up kit, hats, water bottles and sun cream lotion, it didn't take long to find our first offender!
We started our beach clean from the furthest point away from the severn bridge, walking across the steps and sea wall towards the water plant and industrial areas collecting everything we could see and reach along the way.
The mud thickness was very deep almost a foot I would say, making walking through it really difficult. However on the way to the shingled areas, they are mud islands that providing you hop, skip and jump safely (Dad only for this exercise) you could reach much further.
Our daughter spotted her first bottle and we had to of course, take a picture of her achievement!
As we continued along the steps, there seemed to be more and more plastic waste lurking around, bottles mainly, but crisp packets and beer can rings. We continued along this path, finally getting to the end of the sea wall. At this point we had already filled the bag almost a quarter, and had barely started! As we move from the mud on to the shingles, we were really happy to find that people had already started cleaning things up themselves! unsure if it was local residents, parishes or councils, whoever it was did a great job in starting what we planned to finish today! We saw a shimmering collection of bottles, cans and various items, all neatly placed into a container ready for recycling. Walking up the shingle beach, there was minimal amounts of waste, around which was great to see.
At this point, we were about an hour into the beach clean and wanted to create a little fun activity to keep the kids engaged better. This is where the 'Find of the day' game begun. Mid way down the shingled beach, we came across a large plastic item that had been washed up at some point and was propped up against some old driftwood. Our little boy claimed this has his very own star find, and after a debate from his sister we agreed (of course) they found it together!
Progressing along the beach, you eventually come towards the end. It turns into marshland, and you cannot see where you are walking. As we had our kids with us, this was as far as we could go safely. After we reached as far as we could go, we turned around to make our way back towards the beach wall and steps carrying our bags and whatever this object above is (was really heavy!).
We walked back towards the jetty slope that leads you on to the beach and progressed towards the coastal path. I walked across the loose rocks to see what I could find whilst the others followed in parallel on the path above. Once again, it was clear that at some point a really good clean had been carried out, because with the exception of 1 small glass bottle, there was nothing at all to be found. Great job!
We continued walking along the coastal path towards another short beach that heads towards the Severn bridge. This particular beach is a mixture of heavy rocks, thick mud and small shingle. Again this area seemed free of waste so we continued our journey along the path. We started to slowly see an increase of waste the further we went, again packets and drinks bottles, but beer cans were growing in numbers. There are various raised grassy areas along this route, and tell tell signs of gatherings from fires. From my experience, camp type fires usually have alcohol involved so did a little investigating.
This we would say was the worst area of all. There was SO much litter. Broken glass, cans, bottles, you name it, we found it. Some attempts to clean up had been made, but there was still so much on the grass, in the hedges and anywhere else it could be thrown.
I kept the kids well away at this point, and they remained safely waiting on the path with Charlotte. I grabbed the SAS bag and went into the bushes a little further. Here's what we found..
We collected as much as we could fit in our bags, but some of this has been here for many years and had grown into the ground and surrounding plant life. We will email the local council to see if they can arrange for the removal of this, but there are car bumpers, roadwork signs and lots of other stuff that we could not remove without specialist equipment.
As we continued towards the bridge, we removed a few items along the way, but in all honestly it was pretty clean. We had been out for hours now, and our bag was filled! as sad as it was to see this much waste anywhere let alone on a coastal path, we left positive knowing we had removed so much from this area. A truly great effort from Charlotte, and the kids, so proud of you all!
We focus on our next beach clean, and we expect it to be Burnham on Sea or Weston-Super-Mare. We will complete this within the next few upcoming weeks or as soon as time allows.
We hope you enjoyed this blog, and of course the products in our shop if you've had the chance to look! Please share this blog within your community and if you would like to stay updated on our next million mile clean location, we will send it out in our newsletter.
Thank you from all at CoconutBamboo.com