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News Archive > General > 'Flash mob' beach cleans planned

'Flash mob' beach cleans planned

By 26th February 2014

'Flash mob' beach cleans planned

‘FLASH mob’ beach cleans could become a regular feature on Newquay’s shores as a group dedicated to the care of the town’s beaches is formed.

Newquay Beach Care was recently launched after a group of residents became “increasingly concerned” about the amount of debris washing up on Newquay’s sands.

The new group, based on Facebook, follows the success of pages Newquay Marine Group – which sees local people work together to help protect the coastline for the future – and Newquay Beachcombing, which records some of the weird and wonderful items washed up on Newquay’s shores, both of which will continue to operate in their own right on the social media network.

Newquay Beach Care will see ‘flash mob’-style cleans take place across the town when beaches are badly affected by marine debris.

Some beaches, such as Fistral, already have existing group schemes in place, so members will also help out with those when needed, as well as tackling beaches that aren’t cleaned regularly, or where debris is piling up.  

Tracey Williams, from the new group, said: “As people know, many of Newquay’s beautiful beaches have had huge amounts of debris dumped on them following the storm surges and high tides. To make matters worse, litter buried in the dunes has been washing out as well. 

Some of the litter we’ve been picking up is more than 40 years old – some of it is priced in shillings and pence – so pre-1971. At Newquay Beachcombing, we’re also interested in finding out more about where all the debris is coming from. We know that some of it is from containers that have fallen off cargo ships. We also get a great deal of transatlantic marine debris here – including lobster/fishing gear from the US and Canada. In recent months, sewage treatment disks accidentally released into a river in New Hampshire, USA, in 2010 have been washing up.”

“Another reported problem facing our beaches is nurdles,  tiny pellets of plastic that have been spilt into the ocean, as well as the ongoing issue with palm oil.

“Certain beaches seem to attract these nurdles in their millions and they’re extremely difficult to pick up so we’ll be looking at ways to tackle these,” Tracey continued. “Palm oil is another worry. It’s been washing up here in large quantities and can be fatal to dogs. The trouble with palm oil is that it’s easy to see when it’s in great chunks, but breaks down into little fragments when hurled against the rocks, and then it’s much harder to spot. We’re also working with flotsam artists who use marine debris in their work to raise awareness of the problem of marine pollution.”

One such artist is Jo Atherton of Flotsam Weaving, who weaves colourful tapestries from line, twine and unexpected items washed on our beaches.

One of her latest tapestries – Cornish Blue – has been created from flotsam found on Newquay beaches and she is part of Project Vortex, an international collective of artists, designers and architects actively working with plastic debris. It is hoped an exhibition of her work will be featured on the Beach Care Facebook page.

Tracey added: “We have just despatched a parcel of washed up footballs to photographer Mandy Barker for her latest project – you can read more about that at www.mandy- barker.com/project-help/ and we’re also working with the strandings team at the Cornwall Wildlife Trust to record all the different creatures that wash up.”

All residents young and old are being encouraged to get involved with the group and details of their cleans will be advertised on Newquay Beach Care’s Facebook page.

Tracey said: “Even if people can’t come along to our organised beach cleans, they can still do their bit by removing a few bits of rubbish every time they visit the beach.

“Many people do this anyway. Magic Seaweed has also recently published an article encouraging people to just spend two minutes picking up rubbish – small things make a difference.”

By 26th February 2014

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