SAS Autumn Beach and River Clean
SAS Autumn Beach and River Clean

Surfers Against Sewage have long been the environmental charity of choice for water users.  They fought battles against untreated sewage discharge back in the 1990’s when nobody outside of surfers/windsurfers really understood (or cared) what was happening.  Given the huge impact this had on awareness and the changes they bought about through campaigning and activism it is not surprising that in the last few years they have been turning their attention to the biggest issue facing our oceans and ourselves, plastic and waste.

On a SUP we are much higher up than canoeists or surfers so we can see items that shouldn’t be in the water or on the river banks much better than others.  Why not get a group of SUP friends together and do a clean of your local canal, river, beach?

I always keep and eye out when I am surfing – at Bude a couple of weeks ago there was a lot of plastic tomato sauce containers in the line up, so I grabbed as many as I could and put them in my wetsuit (they were clean!), I chucked them in the recycle bin when I got back.  Some SUPers have acquired the derogatory nick name ‘sweepers’, I can’t help but think we can earn that title in a positive way!

Here is the press release:

Aiming for 400 Beach and 60 River Cleans Nationwide

Our Autumn Beach and River Clean takes place between 20-28thOctober with the aim of mobilising 15,000 volunteers from coastal and inland communities to help clean 400 beaches and 60 rivers. JOIN US TODAY!

Since its launch in 2011, our project has seen over 28,000 volunteers remove 80,000kg of marine plastic pollution (the equivalent of over 19,500 bin bags) at 932 Autumn Beach Clean events.

This year for the first time we have introduced river cleans in a bid to stop plastic pollution before it reaches our coastlines. This has been developed in partnership with British Canoeing. Taking into account the length of the longest river in the UK (the Severn) and its average speed, it is estimated that a piece of litter dropped upstream could reach the sea in less than 44 hours.

Ben Hewitt, Director of Projects and Campaigns at SAS said: “The Autumn Beach Clean has long been a staple of every ocean enthusiast’s diary and this year we are moving inland to our rivers for the first time. We want to tackle the problem of pollution further upstream and highlight the direct link between all UK towns, villages and cities and the ocean around us.

The scale of this clean – the biggest across the UK – will provide us with vital data to inform the Governments decisions on a new deposit return scheme. We will be able to specifically show the range of bottles and cans ending up polluting our islands, which need to be included in a new scheme.”

Deposit Return Scheme (DRS)

Earlier this year, after pressure from Surfers Against Sewage and numerous other environmental charities, the UK Government announced that a Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) would come into place in England. This means that consumers will soon pay a small fee when buying drinks in bottles or cans which they will get back after returning the container.

A recent Surfers Against Sewage report found that “local authorities across England could save up to £35 million every year if a DRS for drink containers was introduced”.

Since the initial announcement, there have been questions raised as to what type and size of drinks containers will be accepted and this has led to a consultation being planned for later in 2018. For this reason, SAS will be using the Autumn Beach and River Clean to identify and monitor the types of drinks containers found on our beaches and then recycle as many as possible. The data collected from this will then be supplied as part of the consultation to ensure a comprehensive DRS is put into place.

BECOME A BEACH OR RIVER CLEAN LEADER

Register your favourite beach or river with us at beachcleans@sas.org.uk and become an Autumn Beach and River Clean Leader. The SAS Beach Clean Team will be ready to help you through the process of organising your clean and providing all the equipment you need.

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