October 2019

Welcome to the Strandliners October newsletter.

Strandliners is taking off! September has been full of beach surveys, talks, conferences, training, meeting like minded people and more!

And October will be more of the same, events at Brighton University, visits to schools, the annual River Rother Autumn clean up (whilst surveying types of plastics in our rivers). Don’t forget 60% to 80% of our coastal plastic pollution has inland sources and rivers can transport much out to sea. So how much is transported down the River Rother? We can only find out if we collect data, so we focus on river clean ups and surveys as well as beaches.

With the autumn storms approaching we will find much plastic pollution washing up on our coasts (aftermaths of Atlantic tropical storms Dorian and Lorenzo and more?), so now is the time to be aware of what to look out for, not just any transatlantic plastic but anything washing down rivers into the sea will get deposited onshore too. If you see anything that is different from the usual here are a few actions to take.

1 – take a photo, in situ preferably but not necessary.
2 – take the object home, if safe to do so and there are no marine animals living in or on it!
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 (it will be changing it’s name soon but will be the same group)

Community Action Team (CAT) training sessions
Part of a groundbreaking project, funded by Sea-Changers, partnering with the UNA (London and Southeast Region) to engage with everyone who visits beaches and rivers, to demonstrate how to identify and record the washed-up rubbish in order to discover the sources of this pollution – and take steps to stop it. The CAT programme continues with ‘open to all’ intro sessions in Bexhill and Camber (Full programme listed below), please let anyone know who might be interested in taking up this opportunity.

Future events

River Rother plastic surveys & clean ups (working with Surfers Against Sewage)

October – Wed 23rd – 2:30pm
October – Sun 27th – 2.30pm
November – Fri 1st – 10am
November – Sun 3rd – 10am
We expect to meet at Monk Bretton bridge, Rye, TN31 7LS (parking in Rye) and clean upstream and downstream in sections. Further downstream parking at the lay-by on Camber Rd may be more accessible. Please email for more information. Please be prepared with sturdy footwear and appropriate clothing for the weather. Gloves, pickers & bags will be provided.

Community Action Team
Beach plastic rubbish identification & survey training

(if interested try out session 1, then sessions 2 & 3 will give further skills to be able to identify, record and disseminate data from beach and river pollution.)

Tuesday 8th October – Camber – Part 1
Camber Memorial Hall 7:30 to 9:30pm
– Intro to beach/marine pollution. What is it? Where does it come from? Why recording is the way to go. A MCSuk beachwatch survey (not on the beach but a “here’s one I made earlier” sample from the beach!).
Booking important Book here.

Wednesday 6th November – Bexhill – Part 1
Bexhill Friends Meeting House 7.30 to 9.30pm
– Intro to beach/marine pollution. What is it? Where does it come from? Why recording is the way to go. A MCSuk beachwatch survey. 
Booking important as we will be a small groupBook here.

Saturday 2nd November – Pett Level – Part 2
St Nicholas Church 2.30 to 5.00
Open to previous part 1 participants. Book here.
– Recap, different surveys, analysis, survey protocol. “Homework” – identify a site. 

Tuesday 22nd October – Camber – Part 2
Camber Memorial Hall 7:30 to 9:30pm
Open to previous part 1 participants. Book here.
– Recap, different surveys, analysis, survey protocol. “Homework” – identify a site. 

Wednesday November 27th – Bexhill – Part 2
Bexhill Friends Meeting House 7.30 to 9.30pm
Open to previous part 1 participants. Book here.
– Recap, different surveys, analysis, survey protocol. “Homework” – identify a site. 

Wednesday December 4th – RSPCA Mallydams Wood – Part 3
Session 3 open to all who have completed sessions 1 + 2 + river practical (or have expertise, knowledge  to attend). RSPCA Mallydams Wood
– Recap. Feedback from what CAT has done for trainees so far. Feedback from identification of sites. Looking at river catchment areas upstream.

Recent events

Community Action Team workshop/training part 1

These training sessions are informal, enjoyable and FUN, yet full of information aiming to help everyone identify pollution events and hotspots. A great response so far, thank you to all who have attended. The more information and skills we gain the more chance we have to stop pollution on local, national or international levels.

Beach surveys at Pett Level, Winchelsea Beach, Dungeness

Here’s a brief summary of the breakdown from these surveys. The surveys are part of the Marine Conservation Society’s annual Beachwatch project which in itself is part of World Ocean Clean Up weekend.  

Total weight (kg)Total pieces% plastic% public% fishing% shipping
Pett Level1.515755%55%26%3%
Winchelsea Beach3.525876%24%41%1%

We can begin to work out trends from this data for the Rye Bay, and then compare with the national data which should out within a month. A huge thank you to all participants, volunteers, strandliners who joined in with the beach surveys, CAT training, inputting data, sharing skills, identifying strange objects, whilst being proactive in helping the environment and having fun! This is an ever increasing wonderful family.

This grey plane is an old Burger King toy found on a recent survey. BK have been in the news recently as they will stop giving plastic toys away with their meals. What are the 2 green plastic tubes? Only one open end. Different sizes. We believe we know but are not certain. Any answers please email standlinerscic@gmail.com.

The CAT sessions have been quite eye opening, especially when we are gathered around a table sorting beach rubbish into material types and then working out what it all is. If we can begin to understand where it may have come from, it’s the first step in stopping the pollution.

Strandliners participated in the “Our Sustainable Planet” conference at Hastings Museum organised by the UNA. Andy Dinsdale gave a short presentation on what the plastic pollution on our beaches is, where does it come from and the Community Action Team project. Many important local initiatives presented their projects, and we hope to hear more of them in the news soon.

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 – Biodegradable

“Something that can break down into natural materials in the environment without causing harm”

The primary difference between compostable and biodegradable is that compostable products require a specific setting in order to break down, whereas biodegradable products break down naturally. Usually composting is a faster process, but only under the right conditions.

Biodegradable plastics are very rarely recyclable, and biodegradable does not mean compostable–so they often up in the landfill. 

This can be very confusing, especially with different companies claiming different things. So maybe we should ask two questions.
How long does something take to biodegrade/compost?
In what conditions does something need to biodegrade/compost?