So today the sun was out and we headed to the Suffolk coast to do a beach clean and I paid my first visit to Bawdsey. This is a small village the other side of the river Deben facing Felixstowe and has the amazing Bawdesy Manor overlooking the beach. The building has a definite wow factor and is straight out of an Enid Blyton book and is suitably now owned by a children’s activity holiday company. Having been a big fan of The Famous Five and Secret Seven in my younger days, I feel a pang of jealousy that this incredible building is now the stuff of dreams for just children – what about us grown ups?
Once parked up, you see the quay first and then walk round to the beach and what a gem of a place, nothing too touristy, there was a cafe and facilities but not that many people considering what a gorgeous day it was.
We headed further down the beach and soon came across rubbish for us to collect. Orinoco accompanied us on this visit as it felt a bit mean to leave him at home when it’s his page too. I utilised my 2 minute litter pick bags which had arrived last week. These can be ordered from 2minutebeachclean
You get a pack of 3 of these lovely bags and there are 3 different versions, the litter pick ones I have and also Beach Clean ones and also Street Clean. I aim to get the others at some point. They’re a great way to collect the litter but also get the message out there as to what you are doing. They’re not expensive and can obviously be washed and reused – no plastic here, only what you put inside them!
I wasn’t sure how much we’d collect as Jason Alexander who is also a very keen litter picked had been to Bawdsey earlier in the week. He runs a page called Rubbishwalks and I believe he is mostly based around Suffolk which of course Bawdsey is but we were surprised that we still found as much as we did. I was largely on the lookout for plastic that I can use for my litter art as this is a new project for me and it would be handy to find more bits to use although of course the aim is to not really find anything. That is a long way off though, so I did find quite a bit that I have kept and also plenty that has now been properly disposed of.
Below you you can see some larger items that SplendidChap found including a couple of empty bottles of booze!!
Once we’d filled our bags as knew we couldn’t carry back much more, we decided to call it a day and headed back toward the car and stopped at the quay as we’d been distracted by a few more colourful pieces of plastic in the sand.
This is was where the eagle eyed SplendidChap spotted some nurdles. For those of you new to the world of litter picking you’d be forgiven for thinking I’ve just made up a word, but nurdles are an actual thing. Nurdles are small plastic pellets roughly the size of lentils and an untold amount of them are used each year to make pretty much all plastic products.
Increasing numbers of them are being mishandled and spilled by the plastics industry and ending up at sea. The danger of these is that they are so small they can largely go un-noticed and marine animals can end up eating them.
As small as they are, they can still be deadly to wildlife. They attract other pollutants to highly toxic levels and then enter the food chain of many marine animals and, well you can guess the rest. When you spot them, you’ll generally then go on to find lots of them. We literally sat in the sand and picked up this lot and I’m sure if we’d dug further around we probably could have found double this amount.
So this goes to show it’s not just big plastic bottles that are causing the blue planet a problem, even these tiny things can break down in to many more microplastics.
We did our bit today and enjoyed doing it, next time you visit the coast, make sure you keep an eye out for rubbish and take it off the beach. We’ll definitely visit Bawdsey again and I’d recommend it for a visit, Orinoco seemed to enjoy it!