In Southsea, our beach is an iconic landmark. Whatever the weather, whatever the occasion, there will always be people enjoying the sea air and the pebbles beneath their feet.
While we’re busy enjoying our ice creams or going for a Christmas Day dip in the water, something more sinister is happening on Southsea Beach that we just can’t ignore.
Every day, approximately 8 million pieces of plastic pollution find their way into our oceans. We all know the terrible impact of plastic on our precious marine wildlife (we’ve seen the David Attenborough documentaries), but what can we do to help with this growing problem?
Two-thirds of ocean plastic comes directly from land-based sources, including litter left on the beach. Rainwater or wind carries plastic waste dropped in the street into drains or rivers – which flow into our oceans. Whilst we can’t do much about a cargo ship losing a container overboard, or badly managed landfill sites, we can all help on some level when it comes to litter.
There’s nothing better than gathering friends together on a sunny day and heading to the beach for a picnic. Many of us wouldn’t dream of leaving behind our carrier bags, sandwich wrappers and empty cans of cider, but, unfortunately, some people do.
This summer, I’m making it my mission to be a little more eco-conscious with my picnic parties. I’ll be packing my basket with potato salad in a Tupperware box, homemade sandwiches wrapped in beeswax wraps, and a reusable bottle filled with Pimm’s.
Whatever snacks you decide to pack, the most important thing is to bring your rubbish home after the fun is over. It sounds simple, but it’s so necessary for the protection of our scenery and wildlife, and it’s so often forgotten in the midst of a good time.
There will always be someone who doesn’t abide by the rules, and whilst it shouldn’t be our responsibility to pick up after other individuals, the time has come for us to take the future of Southsea Beach into our own hands, both by trying to reduce our use of plastics, and in the form of local beach cleans.
Whether you join an organised event, or just head down to the seafront on your own, picking up the litter you find as you stroll along the beach is a peaceful and pro-active way of reducing human impact on the ocean, while enjoying your surroundings at the same time.