Sunday, 10 February 2013

Pick Up Three Pieces

I've been inspired by this campaign to join in and pick up three pieces of litter when I visit a beach - even though it's technically an Orkney campaign and I no longer live in Orkney! Of course there's still a link in that I do still have a house there, but also the campaign was started by pupils at Glaitness School. I used to teach at Glaitness and did a couple of beach cleans with my P3/4 class when I was there as well, as teaching tham about the dangers posed by about marine litter. We also sponsored a dolphin.

Recently, in the school I'm in now in Aberdeenshire, my P3/4 class chose for me to sponsor a seal for them at Christmas instead of buying them small presents. They're going to be learning a lot more about the dangers of marine litter, and they are aware that some of the sponsorship money goes towards educating people about this issue. They've already asked if we can do a litter pick up - maybe the planet is in safe hands?

Anyway, I decided it would be a good idea to "pick up three" when I was at the beach yesterday. We went to Rattray Head for a walk along the beach, and although the beach looks very clean at first glance, as soon as you start looking closely you start becoming aware of just how much litter is there.

The most unusual thing we spotted was this:

We decided that, as there was a limit to how much rubbish we could carry, we would just "pick up three pieces" as the campaign suggests. In the end though, we picked up more of course. We prioritised picking up things which we reckoned could do the most damage the soonest - so we picked up a bottle which could easily get broken and cause a nasty injury, rather than the already broken pieces of glass smoothed by the action of the sea. We chose mostly plastic which had already started to harden and crack, as it was beginning to break up. Each of the rubber gloves we picked up was very rigid and cracked, and would soon become many pieces of marine litter and not just one, and could therefore, we assume, damage a lot more wildlife.

The pink rope was picked up as A decided that he couldn't pick it up because it was pink, so I took it! He then carried the traffic cone all the way along the beach and over the dunes to bin it - good work, especially as it was full of sand and rather heavy. We couldn't resist picking up the welly boot and hard hat too, just to add to our wee collection, but that was all we could manage to carry easily.

At least we've done our small bit - and will keep doing so. If only everyone else does the same, what a massive difference it could make, both to the beauty and cleanliness of our beaches and to the amount of wildlife being injured or killed by marine litter.

Rather poignantly, we were just returning to the path over the dunes and back to the car park when we came across this.

I think this a real case where a picture tells a thousand words, and it made us doubly glad that we were doing our small bit to help prevent this sort of occurrence being so common.

Hopefully everyone else will do their small bit too...

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