When you are faced with statistics along the lines of:
Every bit of plastic ever made is still in existence….. Plastic items make up the vast majority of marine litter and never truly break down…. It is estimated that there are about 2000 items of rubbish for every kilometre of UK beach….
You have choices: ignore it, moan about it but do nothing or try to do something about it. The latter is what The New Brighteners (TNB) are all about. Formed in August 2013 from two separate beach litter-picking initiatives, one of which has been doing regular beach cleans for over 5 years, TNB are tackling beach litter on an almost daily basis.
Over the last 12 months, TNB have; secured two funding grants (Love Wirral and Wirral Bright Ideas) which have enabled them to buy more basic litter-picking equipment and Hi-Viz vests; have members actively engaging with Wirral Council via the recently established Constituency Groups; have worked with other local voluntary groups such as, The Black Pearl, Friends of Vale Park, Egremont Festival, Peak Pursuits, and the Momentary Art Project; have campaigned to increase Biffa’s litter collections during the Summer season; did a beach litter-pick with a group of local scouts, and have started a school education project, and are currently working on a project to encourage local fast food outlets to replace Polystyrene food containers with more environmentally friendly products, and with Wirral’s Coastal Rangers, organised an ecology walk for TNB members.
But it’s not all good news. The last organised beach clean of 2014 took place on Sat. 1st November. Four members of TNB spent close on 2 hours cleaning one area of the Marine Lake BUT, by the next day(!) it was deep in plastic rubbish again. Most of it, probably, had been discarded carelessly on the landside promenade and had blown into the Marine Lake.
This can be quite dispiriting, and raises the question: how do you tackle the, ‘don’t give a **** attitude of so many members of the public. It’s a big question, and education may be the key. Littering is anti-social behaviour, but If you could change the thinking of the next generation, you might begin to see changes in all sorts of areas where other anti-social behaviour seems endemic. This is why TNB are hoping to do more school-related projects in 2015.
Asked why TNB engage in beach cleaning, the answer is plain and simple, ‘We love the New Brighton beaches, and the ocean environment’. Simples!
You can find out more about The New Brighteners on their Facebook page: