February 2020

As the winter draws to a close and spring beckons, we begin to take more steps outside. The winter storms may still be bringing more marine debris to our coasts and it is being cleared away from the fragile strandline by many beachgoers. There is one question most of us are asking when seeing rubbish on our sand, shingle and rocky shores. “Why is that on the beach?” The more we ask ourselves this, and follow with “Where does it come from?”, the quicker we may be able to stop similar pollution coming back in on the next tide. Enjoy your beach adventures but be safe; I witnessed another cliff fall at Cliff End in January.

Recent events

A successful time at Dungeness (Lydd Ranges MOD). Thank you everyone for your effort in the survey and taking a whopping 154kg off the beach and out of the marine environment. It turned out to be quite cold but still not as wet or freezing as it could have been! 
The survey area of 100m by 35m gave 945 pieces of manmade rubbish at a weight of 38kg. 85% of this was plastic.
We are uploading the results to the Marine Conservation Society as part of their national data, which in turn is used as part of the OSPAR data for NW Europe.

We also found 6 items as confirmed transatlantic debris (fishing and container spill) as well as remains of more local container spills. 

The New Year Beachcombing walk at Cliff End saw a fantastic group spotting limpet munching, bi-valve fossils, betting shop and catalogue pens that have washed from town/city roads to gutters to drains to small watercourse to river to beach, tea pods from a container spill, and a Radiosonde from an American weather balloon!

There was no survey or data recording but a site visit to the Fairlight Berm to begin planning the removal and recording to identify possible sources of pollution. Another 71kg was removed from the beach before the polystyrene carnage area. Gallery below.

Future events

Community Action Team
Beach plastic rubbish identification & survey training

CAT training will continue in 2020. Both CAT sessions 1 & 2 at venues around the Rother. If you’re interested in finding out more about the toxic plastic tide why not join a session? “You will never be able to see the beach in the same way again!” Anyone who wishes to be on a waiting list for this training please email here.

CAT 3 will be Wednesday 18th March (7 to 9pm) and those who already have completed A & B will be contacted. 

Camber Sands – Great Nurdle Hunt – Sat 14th March– meet 9am in Central car park, Camber (parking £3.00 for up to 3 hours). book a place here.

River Cuckmere – Great Nurdle Hunt – Sun 15th March– meet 10am in Seven Sisters car park (parking £4.00 for the day). Can be muddy in the salt marsh. book a place here

Pett Level – Great British Beach Clean – Wed 8th April– (Marine Conservation Society & Keep Britain Tidy) with RSPCA Mallydams Wood – meet 2.00pm for survey, 2.30 for beach clean, up on sea wall next to Smuggler Pub, TN35 4EH. 

Winchelsea Beach – Great British Beach Clean – Wed 15th April– (Marine Conservation Society & Keep Britain Tidy) with RSPCA Mallydams Wood – meet 2.00pm for survey, 2.30 for beach clean, – meet 4pm at small car park by toilets at end of Dog’s Hill Rd, TN36 4LX

River Rother – Rubbish survey – Sat 4th April– (Surfers Against Sewage) – 2pm – site to be confirmed

River Rother – Rubbish survey – Mon 6th April– (Surfers Against Sewage) – 2pm – site to be confirmed

River Rother – Rubbish survey – Mon 13th April– (Surfers Against Sewage) – 10am – site to be confirmed

River Rother – Rubbish survey – Tue 14th April– (Surfers Against Sewage) – 10am – site to be confirmed 

The Fairlight Berm – This site will be cleaned and surveyed later this year. In the planning stage! Stay tuned for further developments! We are hoping for a May event.

Beach surveys at Dungeness
Saturday 22nd February – 1pm
Sunday 22nd March – 1pm
Sunday 19th April – 1pm
We are running 4 weekly surveys at this remote site to gain more accurate marine debris data. 60 minute return walk on shingle and a 2.5 hour survey. Maximum 16 participants so please email here if you wish to join.
 Please email if you may be able to help out at any of these events. Anyone can take part and aid the data collection, and clean the beach for humans and animals for today and tomorrow. And car sharing is encouraged (it’s fun too!).

Definitions and meanings 

If anyone has anything they’d like explaining regarding marine pollution, waste, recycling etc please email your question to us at Strandliners and we’ll attempt to demystify those technical terms!

This month –  “Litter”
The term “litter” is used all the time when defining manmade beach rubbish. One online definition is
“noun. /ˈlɪtə(r)/ /ˈlɪtər/ ​ [uncountable] small pieces of rubbish such as paper, cans and bottles, that people have left lying in a public place.”

But the history of this term has been wonderfully marketed back in the early 1970’s. It may be part of the greatest communications dis-service ever done to nature in a 1970s TV advertising campaign which is said to have been viewed 14 billion times: the ‘Crying Indian’ by Keep America Beautiful. The message was “People start pollution. People can stop it”.

Large packaging companies have framed and visualised the problem as litter, not plastic production, and they sucked environmentalist energy into picking it up, not reducing it at source.

Even today environmental organisations use litter in their name, in reports and as projects. maybe this is also connected to large companies sponsoring these organisations to gain “green kudos”?

If anyone is to read one thing today, this blog is really worth reading. Chris Rose looks at the plastics industry strategy for avoiding controls on production, by framing plastic as litter and not ‘pollution’, and co-opting litter-picks, beach cleans and the goodwill they rely on.

What to do if anyone finds any pollution hotspot or anything interesting/important

1 – take a photo, in situ preferably but not necessary.
2 – take the object home, if safe to do so and if it contains no living wildlife!
3 – send an image with details (where, date, time etc.) to StrandlinersCIC@gmail.com
4 – post the image onto the Facebook group Rye Bay Beachcombing (soon to change it’s name but will be the same group)