Last month, in the UK, the kids were off for a week for half-term. I asked my 6-year-old what she wanted to do and one of the things she asked to do was litter picking on the beach.
Being an eco-warrior myself, I couldn’t help smiling.
We usually go litter picking in our local area and we have had positive comments and smiles from people passing but we’ve never done it on the beach.
It was a bright, sunny day on the beach in Folkestone, Kent, armed with our litter pickers we asked my friend, Rachel, to join us as she lived locally.
When we’re litter picking in our local park, we tend to find the usual suspects; crisp packets, McDonald’s packaging, sweet wrappers, bottles and polystyrene fast food trays.
Here’s a few photos of what we found at the beach
We found the odd bottle cap and sweet wrappers but the main thing we found was bit of nets used in fishing. There were so many little pieces of them littered everywhere along the stretch of beach.
Who knows how long they’ve been in the sea or sitting on the beach ready to be washed out again by the tide and we all know what this does to wildlife.
If you’ve got 30-minutes to spare, grab a litter picker and a bag and pick up litter – it doesn’t even have to be at the beach. You’ll get a bit of exercise, some fresh air, you’ll be doing something for your community and it’s free to do!
On a very bitter, cold Saturday morning, I joined my first ever litter pick in Ashford. The area targeted for litter picking was a park in Ashford called Victoria Park.
The litter pick was organised by a local group who have a Facebook page called Keep Ashford Clean. I’ve seen their litter picking events on my feed for a while and this time I decided to stop thinking about it and just do it. It’s only two hours of volunteering.
We all met by the fountain at Victoria Park at 1pm and there were in total about 10 volunteers.
We were all provided with the equipment; a high-visibility vest, a litter picker, gloves, a bag for rubbish and a bag for recycling. We were split into teams of two and sent off on our way to cover areas of the park. Although, we were in pairs, it wasn’t really easy to have a chat with your buddy because there was so much ground to cover.
Here’s how I got on with my litter pick
Once I got underway, I put my headphones in and started listening to a playlist I had downloaded; *Nysnc, East 17, Jon Bon Jovi, Backstreet Boys and Timbaland, I was in my element. No judgement, please 😉
I was under the impression that I would mainly find drink cans and bottles, but this wasn’t the case. I found so many crisp packets and sweet wrappers, the items that can’t go in the recycling bag for Ashford Borough Council, and these wrappers get everywhere! You really have to look in hedges, fencing, play areas. It was a little sad to see.
About 45 minutes into my litter pick, my fingers started going numb. We had been provided gloves but despite wearing my own gloves underneath, the tips of my fingers were struggling. Despite this, I carried on.
With the rise of knife crime in this country, I did wonder whether anyone had ever found any knives, I asked my ‘buddy’ and she said there had been cases of knives being found. And not just knives, needles too. She said needles were mostly found in the play area! Imagine taking your child to the park to play on the swings and slides and finding a needle!
About an hour and a half in, I started noticing other volunteers moving towards the water fountain so I started litter picking in that direction and arrived back to the fountain about an hour and 45 minutes after we started.
I was astonished by the amount of bags we filled!
The blue bags were rubbish and the clear bags were for recycling. The volunteers even found a TV, bicycle tire and what looks like part of a child’s scooter. In just two hours, this is what we collected!
It doesn’t make sense
I never understand why people litter? When I was growing up I was always taught to put your rubbish in the bin and if you couldn’t find a bin, put it in your pocket and wait until you get home and throw you rubbish away. When I’m on the school run, I do see kids drop things on the floor and it really annoys me, but it’s not always kids, it’s adults too. Just because they have no pride in where they live, they have no respect for others.
People dropping litter isn’t the only way litter in found on the roads. Council’s clearly aren’t emptying the bins quickly enough so when they are overflowing, and bit of wind and the rubbish goes everywhere. Council’s need to take more responsibility too. There also needs to be an element of common sense, although that seems to be lacking nowadays, if the bin is overflowing, don’t keep trying to add to it!
I hate littering, always have done always will do and I will ensure my little one knows not to litter.
Despite the cold, I enjoyed myself. I felt a sense of achievement just for two hours volunteering and hopefully the people who use Victoria Park regularly appreciate it the work that was put in to make their park nicer.
I look forward to the next week and hopefully it won’t be as cold next time!
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