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The Great British Beach Clean! September 2017

Over the weekend of the 15-18th September, as part of the biggest beach and river clean series ever, the Marine Conservation Society (website HERE) have teamed up with Waitrose to support a huge amount of beach cleans all over the country.

The interesting point is that…
for the first time, many of the plastics removed from events will be sorted and recycled, giving them a second life as new products. Rigid plastic and cigarette stubs collected on cleans will be turned into shampoo bottles and advertising boards.”

We LOVE this here at Clean Seas Please!

Get involved in an event near you – find out more by clicking HERE.

 

Campaign 2017 – Clearer Labeling on Wipes

Have you spoken to the Clean Seas Please team this year about “flushable” wipes? It’s been the hot topic of this year’s events.

In 2016 we supported the campaign to ban the microbead; which has been confirmed by the Environment Secretary, Mr Grove, that legislation will be introduced this year to ban their sale and manufacture [read here].

This year we are supporting the Marine Conservation Society’s campaign to remove any misleading or confusing labels such as flushable, biodegradable, dispersible, etc. on wet wipes. This will make it crystal clear that only the 3P’s pee, poo and paper, should ever be flushed down loos.

The problems with  wet wipes, however branded, is that they are simply not meant to be flushed! Wipes generally do not disintegrate, and often have plastic inside (which can even enter in the food chain)!

The Marine Conservation Society has lots of information on the website too WetWipesTurnNasty, including commonly asked questions and how to sign the petition.

Don’t hesitate to have a read or watch the video below.

 

Clean Seas Please Team back for another year

Clean Seas Please badges and postcards

The Clean Seas Please Team are back for a 5th year!

We are pleased to announce that the Environment Agency have funded us again this year – our 5th year where we will be focusing on both Hastings and Bexhill.

Our first event – as set by tradition now – will be with the St Leonard’s Festival although this year we are going to be in Kings Road as part of the market rather than on the Lower Promenade.  Do come along and see us – we love to meet old friends and new faces.

Together we have another opportunity to not only make changes that keep our sea bathing water quality at a good standard but to strive for excellent in Hastings and Bexhill.

A good way to keep in touch with what we are doing and where we will be is through our Facebook and twitter pages.  Why not like and follow us?

 

Ever Wondered What Your Plastic Footprint Is?

Up to 12.7 million tonnes of plastic make its way into our ocean every year. Plastic is used in many day-to-day products including: packaging, textiles, and building and construction.

 

Unfortunately, around 1.2 million tonnes of plastic packaging are consumed within UK households every year but only approximately 45% are then recycled. It can be very hard to avoid throw-away plastic, however there are many minor changes we can all make to lower the levels of plastic entering our seas.

 

Some of these changes that can be made:

  • Lowering levels of plastic bottles or takeaway containers bought by using a reusable bottle or mug
  • Trying to use reusable bags when shopping
  • Lower use of plastic straws
  • Consuming beauty products that do not contain micro-beads

 

If plastic use is unavoidable, why not try to recycle by using green bins and recycling banks.

 

If you have ever wondered how much plastic you use in a year, follow this link to find out your plastic footprint with Greenpeace: https://secure.greenpeace.org.uk/page/content/plastics-calculator-v1?source=fp&subsource=fp33secsplasticscalc3&utm_source=gpeace&utm_medium=fp&utm_campaign=fp33secsplasticscalc3

 

Here are the numbers we got:

480

970

690

750

870

1010

 

It’s easy to overlook the amount of plastic you consume, but when calculated together it can often be an overwhelming amount! Why not try to keep a tally of the items you use to try and bring down your score, we certainly will be!

 

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Clean Seas Please and Our Furry Friends 

The Clean Seas Please team visited Hastings Beach recently to give out some personalised Clean Seas Please poo bags to the owners of our furry friends.

Did you know that government statistics show the UK dog population is between 6.5 and 7.4 million and that they astonishingly produce 1,000 tonnes of faeces every day! Like any untreated faeces they can increase the bacterial content of the water and so if we don’t pick them up from the pavements and fields these can end up being washed down the drains and end up in our sea.

Mans best friend needs a helping paw to clean up after themselves. We know they all do it, so why not check before you leave home that you have a bag – we do. Also have you noticed that many bins now take dog waste as well as litter? Clearing up will help us all to keep our beaches and water clean.

Take a look at some of the dogs we met below!

 

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For all you smokers out there….. why not think before you stub?

Without stating the obvious, cigarettes contain many toxins, with the smoke alone releasing over 4,000 chemicals and 400 other toxins but have you ever wondered what is left in the filter, or as we know them the “butts” of cigarettes?

Cigarette filters are made from a material that traps the toxin causing chemicals, to try and prevent theses reaching the smokers lungs…… so now imagine what happens when you throw the cigarette butt away.

Dropping a cigarette butt on the ground, including the beach, can lead to an £80 fine. Did you know that an estimated that over 1.69 billion pounds of butts wind up as toxic waste each year with many sources proving cigarette butts are the most prolific form of litter in the world.

The toxic waste in the cigarette butts also have a negative effect on the surrounding environment, taking 20-25 years to decompose. Whilst they are laying around they are often eaten by birds or marine life with the result that the toxins cause harm to them and us when they enter the food chain.

So; what can we all do to help?

Why not set an example – could you stub and dispose of your cigarette butt end so that it isn’t on the ground?

Why not help clean up – join a local beach clean. Pick sticks and thick gloves are supplied so you don’t need to touch any waste found. Have some fun, help the environment and possibly make more friends!

Check out our website …. And social media ….. for details of events.

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Clean Seas Please for future generations

Whilst we are working together to help our bathing water quality in Hastings by thinking about how we disposed of Fats, Oils and Grease, only putting the three P’s (pee, poo and paper) in the toilet, how our waste water pipes are connected and how we disposed of rubbish, there are worldwide initiatives as well.

One of these projects is called The Seabin, an invention spurred by two Australian surfers called Andrew Turton and Pete Ceglinski to clean polluted waters. The invention itself is a bin that goes underwater and collects plastic from the sea and it was reported by NewsScientist.com in July 2016 to be:

“In final stages of research, and should be available in 17 countries early next year”

There has yet to be any updates this year as to whether the Seabin is an invention that will be environmentally friendly and used on a global scale, however Clean Seas Please will be keeping an eye out for any updates so that we can keep you all informed as it will be interesting to see if this would be a great way to prevent the waste in our seas and oceans.

The research was conducted by fitting bins to pontoons and submerging them into the Balearic Seas in Spain where a pump is used to vacuum waste from the surface of the sea. The bins are then emptied when they are full and the waste is then recycled.

NewsScientist.com also reported:

“Marine authorities around the world have expressed an interest, and the team has signed agreements to make the bins available in 17 countries from the beginning of 2017.”

To watch the short film of The Seabin in progress and for more information, check out the following link: https://youtu.be/tiy7WQYQyhY

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Why not check out our other blog posts on this page around the effects of plastic and microbeads or come along and help at a beach clean?

Problematic Plastic

It’s a simple fact that when it comes to plastic in our seas – it’s not so fantastic!

On most beach cleans that the Clean Seas Please team have attended, types of plastic such as lollipop sticks and drink bottles are among the most common items found, either washed up on the beach or left instead of being taken home or put in rubbish bins.

Many products have plastic packaging and they are often taken as necessities to the beach, such as crisp packets, plastic bags containing sandwiches, wrapping on pies and plastic drinks bottles. Most of these plastics are non-biodegradable, meaning they will not break down for years.

To sea life, plastic can be life threatening, especially if eaten or if it becomes wrapped around the body, legs or mouth of wildlife. For example: plastic bags can look like jellyfish and smaller pieces of plastic can be mistaken for food items. Discarded fishing line, or plastic used to keep tins, such as lager, together can enter the sea and cause great harm.

Plastic can also get to the sea through the rain water sewer system, either by items being flushed down toilets that are not correctly connected, or by being washed down the road and into the gutters, which results in it being washed up on the shore.

We can all help by taking our rubbish home from the beach, or putting it in local rubbish bins or joining in with a beach clean.

 

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Missconnections

Do you know what a misconnection is?

We didn’t until we were asked to help others know what they are, the impacts on bathing water quality and what to look for.

A misconnection is when the waste water pipes to sinks, or toilets, are not connected (misconnection) to the sewer pipes that go directly to the waste water (sewage) treatment works. When this happens, any waste going down the pipes goes into the rain water system and directly out to sea – which means that it does not get treated.

Often, we are not aware of the problem until our drain or toilet becomes blocked or we have building work to our property and the misconnection is found. If you are not sure about the plumbing in your property, we would advise that you ask plumber to check this for you.

Over the next couple of months, the Clean Seas Please Team are hoping to talk to various people, including plumbers and plumbing students, to see how many misconnections they are aware of and the affects that this can have on the quality of bathing water in Hastings and Bexhill.

Why not have a go at our missed connections game? https://www.cleanseasplease.net/play-missed-connections/

Beat the Microbead!

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Toothpaste, facial scrub, bubble bath, shaving foam and household cleaners are all examples of some of the products that contain microbeads, one of the highest contributors to plastic that is polluting our seas.

 

What are Microbeads and why is everyone talking about them?

Microbeads are very small pieces of plastic, some visible to the human eye and some not, that are added to many everyday toiletries and household products. These pieces of plastic find their way down our drains when we use them and into our seas, passing through filtration devices because of their minuteness.

 

There are over 680 tonnes of microbeads used in the UK alone every year. It is believed that some fish are mistaking the microbeads for food and when eaten they can cause many problems including stunted growth as they are not digestible. This means that they can also end up in our food chain, however there is no evidence to suggest that they pose harm to humans.

 

What is being done about the microbeads?

Following a petition that saw more than 370,000 signatures, the tiny pieces of plastic are now set to be banned from being used in the sale of goods within the UK by the end of 2017. This means that brands that currently make products with microbeads in them will need to find a harmless alternative, of which there are many biodegradable options including: nut shells and salt.

 

What can we do to help before the ban takes place?

We can look to find products that do not contain microbeads an example of ingredients to avoid are: Polyethylene (PE), Polypropylene (PP), Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET), Polymethyl Methacrylate (PMMA), Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) and nylon.

 

Why not take a look at the following link for a list of products sold within the UK that are not made with plastic, you’ll be surprised what you’ll find on there!

https://www.fauna-flora.org/initiatives/the-good-scrub-guide/

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Beatthemicrobead.org also offer a smartphone app that allows you to scan products on the go to see if it is made with microbeads, very helpful