Posted: 23.08.19 at 11:50 by The Editor
Parley, a charity addressing major threats towards our oceans, were at Barry Island on Wednesday as part of their one-day beach clean project.
This follows a lot of very big talk about cleaning up plastic from the world’s beaches and oceans but when it comes to a local beach like Whitmore Bay what is the reality?
The organiser talked of the challenges in motivating people into this kind of environmental action but she believes these kind of clean-up events are vital in encouraging new people, especially the younger generation, to consider the impact of their rubbish.
Nub News spoke to the organiser Claire Giner about the project before getting our own hands dirty and joining the clean up.
Claire Giner said: ‘’I work for Parley which is the marine conservation side of the Parley x Corona partnership. Corona’s whole marketing campaign is ‘grab your friends, grab your coronas, go sit on the beach and watch the sunset’.
‘’So, they thought they had a responsibility to do something about the plastics in the ocean. They approached Parley and said we wanna do something, what can we do? So, Parley are running the science and beach clean side of things and Corona are running the advertising/ marketing.’’
What do the projects consist of? ‘’I am spending the summer going round the country doing about 68 of these one-day beach cleans.
‘’We’re inviting local people to get involved and teach them a little bit about it if they are interested.
‘’The incentives are that if you come along you get free branded swag and we also go out for a Corona afterwards.
‘’We are trying to appeal to younger people who don’t necessarily get as involved with volunteering without an incentive.
‘’They come along, they get a free t-shirt, cap, re-usable water bottle and beer which isn’t bad for an hours worth of voluntary work.
How does a one-day event encourage people to continue making these environmental changes?
‘’We often say in the business that once someone does a beach clean its like a gateway drug. So, as soon as someone does a beach clean now and again they get a bit more conscious about their choices.’’
‘’There has been a major shift in the past 5 years but there is a long way to go still. It’s crazy when you go to places and you see people throwing their plastic on the floor and you think really? Still, even still?’’
How has turnout been at the events? ‘’It is so varied. August has actually been quite bad. I thought there would be lots more because of the increased amount of holidaymakers.
‘’I guess because they are on holiday they are less invested. June and July we were seeing consistent numbers of above 20 turning up at every beach clean.’’
‘’We have found that is in some places there are local conservation marine groups and in those places there is much more engagement.’’
‘’We are very passionate about collaborating with the local groups. We get local people to come along to the one-day events then we have the local conservation groups to talk to them afterwards. This gets them involved and people have gone onto do beach cleans regularly with their local groups.’’
‘’It is really nice to bring in people who want to do it randomly with a little temptation from Corona and hand them over to people that do this day in and day out and build those relationships.’’
After our conversation we went down onto the beach to investigate. The pictures show some of the items we found. Cigarette butts were definitely one of the main culprits. Claire told us that later at one beach clean she collected 3 litres of cigarettes ends in one hour.
During our own one-hour search, we picked up enough food wrappers, bits of hard plastic and disposable cups to fill the two bags seen in our pictures. Much of this plastic is, by the time we and other beach cleaners pick it up, degraded and hard to spot because it is buried in the sand.
The Parlay-Corona initiative had succeeded in getting us to be active on an important issue, whilst also underlining that a true long-term solution will require bigger changes in the way that we buy and sell food and countless other items. The beach is a good place to start.