A different sort of day at the beach

Across DXC Technology, we actively encourage employees to get involved in environmental activities for Earth Day. This year, our theme was “clean up,” particularly the collection of marine litter.

The problem with marine litter is that the vast majority of it is plastic, which never truly breaks down. Experts suggest plastic left in the environment will be with us in microscopic form many thousands of years.

When in the sea, plastics can also attract toxic chemicals, becoming increasingly harmful over time, and often entering the food chain when mistaken for food items by fish, seabirds, marine mammals and other organisms. Over 100,000 marine mammals and over 1 million seabirds die every year from ingestion of and entanglement in marine litter.

So this year, on Earth Day, myself and my other half took part in a Beachwatch beach cleanup event in Weymouth, Dorset, organized by the Marine Conservation Society.

This is the first time I had been involved in a beach clean, and my partner and I had no real idea of what was involved. We were told to dress appropriately, so sturdy shoes and protective gloves and a warm jacket were the order of the day!

Ours was a 1-hour beach clean, which fitted in perfectly with a weekend away to the lovely seaside town of Weymouth. The beach was Newton’s Cove, a small rocky cove used mainly by the locals, just along the headland a short distance from the main town.

When we arrived, our organizer, Owen Morgan, was there, wearing a bright tabard, so easy to spot. He had bought lots of equipment, a big pile of litter pickers, thick gloves, plastic sacks and boxes and gave our small group a very warm welcome. We were given a clipboard, with a list of potential marine litter items on it, and we were asked to survey the litter we collected, by checking them off the list. Easy! We were off!

My husband had been somewhat wary about taking part in this event. He had agreed to come, I suspect more out of support for me, rather than the event itself. However, he soon got into the swing of it, using the whizzy litter picker (what a fun gadget, everyone should get one!) to pick up bits of fishing line, old rope, bits of plastic, old cans, and such and gaily waving me over to show me something interesting in the rockpools he had found.

I can honestly say, we both had an extremely enjoyable and interesting time at Newton’s Cove. We chatted with the other volunteers, many of whom take part in these types of events all over the coast.

The sun was shining, we were by the sea, mooching about the beach collecting bits of shiny litter, washed into shore or thrown carelessly from the esplanade. Mucking about on the beach like that, brought back so many happy memories of when I was a child, with my sister collecting shells, sea glass and rocks with tiny fossils. It was FUN.

We successfully cleaned the beach and left it safe and beautiful. We would both do it again, in a heartbeat. Not just for Earth Day, but whenever we go away near the seaside.

If you don’t have an hour, commit to a 2-minute beach clean next time you go to a beach. Put on some gloves, take a plastic bag and get your family to collect the litter around you for the first two minutes of your day. Leave nothing behind but your footprints!

MCS UK has over 900 Beachwatch volunteer leaders all around the UK, and provide loads of online resources to help you get involved. There is a step-by-step guide online, and a beach map to find your nearest beach. If your favourite beach is not there, they can add it. All you have to do is choose a beach, register for an event like we did or organize your own.

How did you contribute to Earth Day this year?

RELATED LINKS

Do busy people have time for the environment?

Distance, place and time in a connected world

Leading for success – with pride

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  1. […] my recent Earth Day post, colleagues from around DXC Technology reached out to share how they supported the global event. I […]

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  2. […] A different sort of day at the beach […]

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