It’s the first Saturday in January, a bright day, but with a biting wind and a group of local residents are gathered by Brixham Breakwater to help clean this stretch. The event has been co-ordinated by Torbay Cleaner Coasts Initiative – a collection of organisations protecting our coastal habitats.
The member organisations of the Torbay Cleaner Coast Initiative have all previously been involved in marine conservation and voluntary projects. They shared a common vision to work collectively to improve the marine and coastal environment within Torbay.
This year they have planned a range of activities for local people to get involved in judging by today’s large turnout by volunteers of all ages and walks of life there is a real appetite from local people to play their own part in cleaning up our oceans. Storm Eleanor and westerly winds brought up a great deal of marine litter on Wednesday and Thursday and local residents had done what they could on an individual basis during the week, but now this enlarged group of divers and land based litter pickers could cover a greater area and the bags of litter soon became filled.
Working in pairs and with little pickers in hand, people quickly started swarming across the breakwater and were filling their bags with all matter of litter. We found ourselves focusing on the seaweed where we discovered on nearly every patch that we brought out was covered with nylon fishing lines. The nylon quite literally becomes snagged in the seaweed and is tangled up in there. The danger is that if these nylon fishing lines aren’t removed from the seaweed then marine wildlife could ingest them or become tangled in them – either of which can have detrimental effects.
So what can we do? It’s impossible to pick out every piece of seaweed from the sea and disentangle the nylon lines from each piece. So we need to stop the nylon lines from ending up in the sea.
So over to the Brixham fishermen and women to play their part and help this volunteer army of marine litter pickers – will you now use an alternative way to dispose of your nylon lines and stop them from ending up in the sea please? And how about coming out to help some of the many women, children and men who go out every week cleaning the coastline and picking up all those millions of bits of nylon and rope?