This summer saw over a thousand volunteers take part in Surfers Against Sewage’s (SAS) annual Barefoot Wine Beach Rescue Project, leaving beaches all around the UK cleaner and safer. The response to SAS’s Barefoot Wine Beach Rescue Project was truly staggering as SAS members, surfing communities and the wider public came together for beach cleans across the country to tackle the growing tide of trash. The litter collected, over 2.5 tonnes, is the equivalent of 5000 empty plastic bottles – which would create a pile nearly 12 times the height of Blackpool Tower.
The amount of marine litter found on UK beaches has doubled in the last 15 years. In a recent survey, 63.5% of litter found on UK beaches was made of plastic, which can take hundreds of years to break down and can be lethal to marine wildlife. With 80% of this debris arriving from land-based sources, including the general public, the power is in our hands to make a positive difference to stop the growing problem of marine litter. Beach cleans are a great way to remove marine litter, inspire community action and ensure the beach is a clean and safe place for all to enjoy.
SAS’s Barefoot Wine Beach Rescue Project visited 14 locations around the country between May and September, including Portrush in Northern Ireland, The River Thames in London, Porthtowan in Cornwall, Bellhaven in Scotland, Whitley Bay in North Tyneside, Scarborough in Yorkshire and Newgale Beach in Wales.
There were fantastic prizes handed out for guessing the weight of the litter collected and the most unusual piece of litter found, awarded in honour of SAS’s ‘weird fish’, a quirky sculpture created from pieces of beach debris. The summer saw many bizarre items removed but the most unusual finds included a toilet seat, a bright blue fire extinguisher and a Korean ship’s captain’s business card. After each of the summer’s fourteen beach clean events, award-winning Californian wine brand Barefoot Wine celebrated everyone’s efforts with a beachfront BBQ, complimentary glasses of Barefoot Wine and a free organic cotton Barefoot Wine t-shirt for every person, and at a select number of events, the party really took off with a rousing performance from Devon singer-songwriter Ben Howard.
Surfers Against Sewage Director Hugo Tagholm said “Surfers Against Sewage is delighted to have mobilised a record number of beach clean volunteers through the Barefoot Wine Beach Rescue Tour 2011. Community beach cleans are a great way of bringing together our supporters and wider public to tackle marine litter, helping protect beautiful beaches right around the UK. This year’s events removed over 2.5 tonnes of marine litter from the coast, making it a safer and nicer place for everyone to enjoy. We’re thrilled to have such a positive partnership with Barefoot Wine, who have supported our marine litter campaigns for a number of years through beach clean activities. We’d like to thank Barefoot Wine and everyone who took part in the tour, and look forward to seeing you all again next year!”
Barefoot Wine representative Alistair Feest said “We knew that 2011 would be a big year for the beach cleans, but it’s really exceeded expectations so we’d like to thank everyone who came to see Barefoot Wine and SAS and make all the events so special. Our Barefooters have always worked with local communities and that spirit was so evident at every single one of our events this summer because come rain or shine, we’ve had people from all over the UK joining us to make more of the UK’s beaches ‘barefoot friendly’.”
The concept was launched in the UK with SAS four years ago and has brought local communities together to help remove unwanted litter from beaches and reinstate Britain’s coastline to its former natural glory.