By Hannah Bristow and Anna Carpenter
Final Straw Foundation Ambassadors and members of the Olympic Sailing Team 2024
When we thought, just last week, that it was safe enough to run a beach clean for Easter we knew we were leaving it a bit late to advertise. People might have plans, or just not hear about it in time, but as it turns out, we had nothing to worry about.
The sun even made a cheeky appearance for our first ever beach clean as ambassadors for Final Straw Foundation. What a welcome relief from the icy winds of the last few weeks.
Overwhelmed by the amount of people who volunteered their time to help us clean up is an understatement. We lost count at 50 people throughout the day and were sure there was a good 10 or so after that. The support from the sailing community for us and the ocean was inspiring. British sailor Hannah Mills joined in and were so pleased she took time out of her Olympic campaign for us. Yet, it’s not a chore for Hannah, she is also the founder of the awesome Big Plastic Pledge. You can read all about that here https://bigplasticpledge.com. The Big Plastic Pledge and Final Straw Foundation have worked together before and both have the same values so it was great to link up again.
We already knew there was a great community here in Portland but today just proved it. Everyone that came was so interested in what we were doing, and keen to get involved when they learnt more. A lot of children joined in which was great to see. The youth of today are our tomorrow after all! It was so lovely to see the clean become an Easter Sunday family activity where parents, teenagers and young children were all chasing each other with litter pickers as well as doing a great job cleaning up Portland. The smiles on everyone’s faces spoke volumes and we will definitely do this again. There is such a noticeable difference in the amount of litter when walking around the seafront now which is a testament to the great work that everyone did.
So, a few hours later, and a clean beach front, we were left with 30 full bin bags of rubbish. Yep, 30! Hard to believe that that was all just hiding in the rocks and in hedges, but don’t worry, we’ve got it all now. Well until the next tide, or big winds blows more in, but we’ll be ready to go back and keep working until the coasts are clear. It’ll take years sadly though, with the amount of single use plastic being used daily and all the plastic that’s already out there in the environment, but we’ll keep on. Keep on picking up. Keep on educating. Keep on asking for change. We are honoured to have been able to be a part of today and so lucky to have the help of Frontline Coffee to act as our meeting place, letting us use their bins and for providing hot drinks for the volunteers.
What a team.
Well be back.
See you soon.