Throughout lockdown, many people have turned to nature as a source of comfort, beauty, and inspiration. We are learning as a society just how valued our wild spaces are to us, as places to get much needed headspace, exercise, and fresh air.
Over the past few weeks many have welcomed the slight easing of lockdown restrictions here in Wales. Being able to travel within 5 miles of our doorsteps has allowed many people to return to their favourite local parks, beaches, and woodlands.
However, alongside the return of people to our wild spaces, we have seen a rather ugly shadow. Litter.
Beach cleans, carried out by Living Seas Wales staff, over the past week, have collected: food wrappers, drinks bottles, fishing tackle, cigarettes, socks (!!), cans, dog poo bags, ice cream sticks, takeaway tubs/wrappings and even a toy car! And this is just a small selection.
However, it is not just discarded litter that is causing a problem. The bins in the photo below are situated just off our local beach here in New Quay and are a mere 35 steps apart - a 20 second walk.
One is practically empty, the other is overflowing.
Whilst enjoying the outdoors we ask that you consider the effect that your actions may have, not just on others, but on the environment. Think about how you are going to dispose of your litter:
- Can your waste be reused? Reusable plastic bags and bottles are not made to be disposed of after one use. Make sure you make the most out of them and the money you have spent to buy them in the first place! Or better still, invest in a fully reusable cloth bag or metal bottle.
Can your waste be recycled? If so, make sure it goes in the right bin. Incorrect sorting of litter can lead to cross-contamination, and recyclables needlessly going to landfill.
- Can you take your waste home? If the local bins are full, or if you are disposing of glass or BBQs, you should be taking your litter home with you to dispose of appropriately.
We all have a responsibility to look after our environment. Many of us often remark that we are lucky to live in such a beautiful place. Let’s work together to keep it that way.
A note on litter picking: When litter picking we would always recommend using either gloves or, ideally, a litter picker. Ensuring you yourself do not come in to contact with the waste, now more than ever, is important. Litter pickers are available for public use at 2-minute beach clean stations across the UK and Ireland. Please remember to exercise personal hygiene before and after touching any communal equipment.
Main Image: Disposable cup found above Dolau Beach © Beth Thompson / CBMWC