Tuesday, 7 April 2020

L is for Litter

Please remember! We ask that people do not visit the Reserve particularly if you have to travel. All car parks on Holy Island are closed to visitors until government restrictions are lifted. Many residents on Holy island fall into the vulnerable category. Please adhere to these guidelines for the health and safety of yourself and others during this time.

Litter can feel like a never ending battle at Lindisfarne National  Nature Reserve as I'm sure it does in many coastal regions around the world. Every high tide brings a new surge of waste onto the strandline. If you spend too long thinking about it, it can be quite depressing but it isn't all doom and gloom. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. Our behaviours over the last decade are slowly changing as shocking images of wildlife tangled in plastic and rubbish strewn tropical beaches have been splashed across the media; shaming us to do something about it. Imagine every bit of plastic you have ever handled...it is all still out there, every single piece.

At Lindisfarne National Nature Reserve we have a small army of volunteers who take part in our regular litter picks or pick up litter while out on an afternoon stroll on the Reserve. We find that most of the litter removed has been bought in by the sea with visitors by and large very good at taking their rubbish off the Reserve with them.
Volunteers litter picking at Budle Bay
Before the lockdown one of our volunteer placements - Flora was carrying out routine litter surveys along two beaches on Holy Island: Sandham Bay and Coves Haven. The rubbish was removed and then categorised to see the prevalence of different items. Here is a short piece she wrote about her findings. 

What’s on our beaches?!

 For the past few weeks I have been out at Coves Haven and Sandham Bay- in the wild winds it’s been a bit of a challenge but one that is happily undertaken!
small plastic bits
Bringing the collected rubbish back to the office I have been able to sort through and find out exactly what is appearing on our beaches. It looks like the majority has been rolling around in the seas or under the sand for quite a while as it it’s all starting to break down.

Disintegrating bags

The vast majority of what I’m finding is plastic and it’s breaking down into smaller and smaller pieces, the bags are disintegrating into many little bits all for small mouths to feed upon. But possibly the most distinctive bits of plastic I’m finding everywhere are bits of one-use disposable cups.
single use plastic cups

So, the question is- do you have your reusable hemp shopping bag?  Have you reduced, reused and recycled your plastic purchases?  And please keep your reusable (coffee or water) cups handy so you never never never need to use a disposable cup again!


Although we are in difficult and unprecedented times when thoughts of recycling and the environment might fall lower down peoples priority list, it is still important to remember that you can still have a positive effect on the environment even if you are locked indoors for the foreseeable future. Do a small litter pick while on your allotted exercise each day, keep buying food in recycled packaging. If we all play our part and keep building on the progress made over the last decade we can make a real lasting change.

No comments:

Post a Comment