Sunday, August 21, 2011

Pick Up 3

In mid-winter we have all sorts of flotsam and jetsam wash up on the beaches of Cornwall.
Photo by Dave Williams.

Iniative Surf recently ran a training camp on Long Island, New York and the groms got involved with improving their beach environment after a training session.
Getting good habits at an early age.
Photo by Alex Espir.

All this will end up in the Ocean that you can see at the end of the ditch (right into the line-up of a surf spot) next time it rains. This has to change.

An Tor Orth An Mor took a two week holiday this northern summer, a bit last minute and far enough off the map to make posting photos difficult so apologies if you missed us...but we're back now, so on with business.

This one is an important one, both to spread a message well worth spreading and to try and shout it from the roof tops and encourage you the reader to pass the message on, but also to salute the people in this post who lead the charge in one way or another and do their bit.
Litter. You wouldn't believe how much of it ends up in the oceans or washed up on beaches, almost anywhere in the world no matter how remote and off the beaten track you go there's a pretty good chance that you'll find some plastic washed up on your idylic beach, maybe carried there by the winds and currents from thousands of miles away. In some places there are unbelievable levels of rubbish on the beaches and in the water, perhaps because of the prevailing wind direction or because the locals there don't have any refuse collection and wherever they throw it, it washes downstream to the coast. But regardless of the reasons why, it really shouldn't be there at all. But how can you help? Sometimes there's just too much to feel that you can make a difference.

Pick Up 3. It's that simple. The brainchild of 16 year old Cobi Emery from San Diego, California, Pick Up 3 asks you to pick up just three pieces of litter or trash when you walk back up the beach from the surf. You can carry three bits in one hand and dump them in a bin at the top of the beach or put them in a bag in your car to dispose of later, that way slowly but surely, little by little, we can start to make a difference; it's enough to have an impact whilst still being easily manageable.
Not only does the beach look nicer then, but the impact on the marine environment is amazing too - thousands of turtles and dolphins die each year because they mistake plastic bags for jellyfish and eat them, only to either fill their guts with undigestable plastic and starve, or in the case of turtles, float to the surface because of the increased buoyancy and bake to death in the sun. Wrong. So plastic bags, bottles, bits of fishing nets and line...if it didn't grow there it shouldn't go there.

My friend Alex from Initiative Surf asks all of his clients, be they junior competitive surfers or clients on guided surf trips to pick up 3 on their way back from every surf as part of his coaching regime, whilst Tom and the staff and customers of Island Vibe in Jeffreys Bay do regular beach clean ups there, with one big annual effort. This year 80 of them collected litter on the western beaches of J-Bay, filling bags and bags with unwanted refuse. Unfortunately, the next time the wind blows offshore, more plastic will blow out of the township and down the beach, just as after the first rains of the season in Morocco, Indonesia or any other developing coastal nation the water is too filthy to surf or swim in because the floodwater washes out all of the ditches and drains that locals use to dump their refuse in to. But perhaps slowly, 3 pieces at a time we can set an example, educate and begin to clean up the marine environment because we all live downstream of something and the oceans are too important to mess with.

Leave it better than you found it. Please.

Staff and guests at Island Vibe clearing the beach and drains that make up their back yard.
Photo by Rene Thornton.

More people and less litter than the previous year, so it's looking hopeful.
Photo by Rene Thornton.

A good job well done.
Photo by Rene Thornton.

Volounteers from the Polzeath VMCA clearing our local beach, thanks guys!

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