Saunton beach clean
Regular organised community beach cleans at Saunton start up again on Sunday 20 March 11am-1pm
This year’s beach cleans are being made possible by the ongoing partnership between local environmental charity Plastic Free North Devon (PFND), Christie’s Estates, Saunton Beach Enterprises Ltd, North Devon Coast AONB, local Surfers Against Sewage reps, and Saunton Break Cafe. The charity is also pleased to officially welcome Saunton Surf Life Saving Club, Walking on Waves surf school, and Surf Saunton as partners to help grow the impact of these regular cleans.
Plastic Free North Devon, along with their partners, have been running these Big Saunton Beach Cleans since 2018; with the help of over 2500 volunteers they have carried out 30 community cleans clearing over three tonnes of rubbish from Saunton beach. In 2021 alone, PFND Cleanse and Clean volunteers cleared over 1.7 tonnes from parks, beaches and towns across our region. One tonne of that was from Saunton, thanks to the 220 volunteers that turned up to the seven organised beach clean events run at the beach – for perspective, that’s the equivalent weight of an adult female Great White Shark, or ten adult male humans.
The rubbish collected was a combination of fishing related debris, food packaging, plastic bottles, cans, micro plastics, cigarette butts and more. Among the items recorded were some very old crisp packets dated back to the 60s, proving the lasting environmental impact of throw-away single use packaging.
This year the charity wants to clear even more of the rubbish that collects on the beach, and to continue to use the evidence they collect to help push for change in order to prevent the rubbish being created and ending up on our beaches in the first place.
Plastic Free North Devon CEO, Claire Moodie, expands on why these cleans are so important, and tie in to the community-led ethos of the charity:
“We have seen over the last four years how facilitating cleans like this goes beyond the obvious benefit of less rubbish on our beaches; they can really galvanise the local community into taking action to protect our environment by encouraging them to reconnect with nature – benefitting from the positive effects that spending time in green spaces like parks, or ‘blue’ spaces by water like rivers or oceans, can have on our physical, mental, and emotional health, and taking pride in looking after those spaces. Another unexpected benefit is the sense of community and purpose they create – these cleans are not just good for the planet but really are good for our communal well-being as well!
“The more we connect with nature, the more we’re inspired to want to protect it and that can show up in small daily changes, like swapping out single use packaging for reusable containers, walking and cycling rather than driving where we can, shopping locally, and upcycling or mending rather than throwing away our old clothes or furniture. The changes we need to see don’t just come from individuals though, we also need to ask for better from businesses, big corporations, and governments.”
As always there is free parking for Big Saunton Beach Clean volunteers, and hot drinks will be provided by the wonderful Saunton break cafe. This year the cafe will only be providing drinks in reusable cups, so please don’t forget to bring your own cup! The organisers want to avoid creating any extra waste, especially when there is a much more sustainable alternative, and swapping out disposable cups for refillable ones is an easy win when it comes to making a difference with our daily choices. All beach cleaning equipment is provided but if you have your own, please bring it along with you. Cake donations to share on the day are always warmly welcomed.
For the full list of this year’s Big Saunton Beach Cleans, see the image below. Plastic Free North Devon also facilitate cleans across the region, so keep an eye on their web events page and facebook for upcoming events. If you want to run your own, and need some help please get in touch, the team at PFND are always happy to support. There are also lots of local litter cleaning groups in individual towns and villages, and North Devon County Council also have lots of kit for you to borrow.
Find out more about Plastic Free North Devon – https://www.plasticfreenorthdevon.org