This morning, I joined a group of friends from work to pick litter up on the beach at Blackpill. It’s part of Swansea bay and I remember going there as a kid and paddling in the little kids pool there whenever we visited my grandparents. Later, when my mates and I were back from our various colleges, we’d end up at the swings at Blackpill after an evening in the pub. Rufus and I have been down that way, and it was a stopping point when I used to walk the seafront as part of my trek preparation.
Today, we were able to give something back. The beach at Blackpill is a Site of Special Scientific Interest. It is a stopping point for birds migrating from Africa to the Russian Steppes and Sanderling, Ringed Plovers and Oystercatchers are amongst the 150 species sighted here. As it is also a busy spot for those seeking the sand, it tends to get very messy. But there is no excuse for dropping litter with so many bins around.
We set off around 10am after a briefing from the guy from Keep Wales Tidy. Then, with litter pickers and blue bags we spread out across the beach and started clearing up. I was surprised at how much domestic waste was so close to the lido. In the first 10 minutes or so, I had collected a lot of strips of rubber, cable ties and one inner tube of a bike tyre. I expected more food wrappers and drinks bottles, but I saw very little of that kind of rubbish, which suggests to me that the visitors are more respectful of the place.
It was a lovely morning – not too hot or too windy. I found picking the litter up very therapeutic and relaxing. For much of the time I was in a world of my own and before long, an hour had gone by. We were spread out over the beach and every now and then we’d cross each other’s path. Looking back along the beach, our route was punctuated by a line of filled blue bags.
By the time we’d turned back and reached the rubbish collection point, we’d filled 20 bags with bottles, plastic, fishing line, rope, syringes, cans and other stuff that most certainly does not belong on a beach where children play.
It took us two hours to collect that, but it would take an individual 30 seconds to put their rubbish in a bin.