Big Beach Clean Up

Gweek beach clean

Cornish Seal Sanctuary discovers what’s lurking in the surf

It was all gloved hands to the sea shore this weekend, as the Cornish Seal Sanctuary took to its local beaches with a brigade of environmental volunteers.

The Cornish Seal Sanctuary works regularly with the Marine Conservation Society on coastal initiatives which are dedicated to conserving the natural beauty of Cornwall’s coastlines. As the group organiser of its local beaches Gwithian and Gunwalloe, the Cornish Seal Sanctuary carried out two of 149 big beach clean ups which took place around the UK this weekend.

The Big Beach Clean Up is an environmental initiative launched after the Marine Conservation Society joined forces with Marks and Spencers for a Forever Fish campaign, which aims to protect our fish stocks and the marine environment for the future.

On the 11th May, the Sanctuary’s team met MCS volunteers and Marks and Spencers staff at Gwithian beach where over 41 kilos over rubbish was collected. Key litter culprits included netting, shards of plastic, discarded toys, cord, and polythene bags.

Efforts continued on 12th May at Gunwalloe beach, where 16 kilos of debris was collected.

Rachael Vine, fundraising coordinator at the Sanctuary, said “Big Beach Clean Up events are close to our heart here at the Cornish Seal Sanctuary. We see countless seal pups come into our facility who have sustained injuries by ingesting small pieces of plastic and polythene bags, or from becoming entangled in netting.

“Aside from being unsightly, marine litter can affect a host of other marine wildlife too, including leatherback turtles, which swim through Cornish Waters.”

The data collated from the Big Beach Clean-Up will help keep the importance of litter campaigns on the government’s agenda and ultimately work to protect our beaches for future generations.

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