Residents and visitors urged to ‘take only pictures and leave only footprints’
Clean Devon is focusing on beach litter as part of their next campaign after concerns about the amount of coastal litter the county experienced last year.
On Monday 29 May 2023, the Clean Devon partnership, together with Ruda Holiday Park which is owned by Parkdean Resorts, and Plastic Free North Devon (PFND), will come together for an action day to raise awareness about the impact of littering on our coastlines and to encourage people to do their part in keeping our beaches clean. The aim is to prevent a repeat of the large-scale littering that took place last year on a popular Devon beach. Just some of the items that were left included camping chairs, cheap bodyboards and alcohol bottles and cans.
Littering is an increasing burden on society, both financially and environmentally and the partnership aims to improve the issue through preventing, detecting and deterring this type of behaviour in the county.
The message to those visiting coastal areas in Devon is clear: take only pictures and leave only footprints. The partnership is urging beachgoers to dispose of their litter responsibly or by taking it home with them.
Principal Waste Manager from Devon County Council and Clean Devon Co-ordinator, Annette Dentith, says: “We want everyone to come to Devon’s beaches and enjoy themselves. But we also need everyone to respect and protect the beach environment for other visitors and marine life. 80% of marine litter comes from the land and approximately 85% of it is sadly plastic. This is a big problem because of plastic’s impact on marine life and human health via the food chain. Litter and other items left behind can easily be blown into the sea – please take everything you bring to the beach away at the end of the day, dispose of litter responsibly and leave only footprints.”
Beach manager at Ruda Holiday Park, Holly Robertson, says: “Last year, we experienced a large amount of litter on Croyde Bay. Keeping the beach safe, clean and welcoming for our visitors and the local community is our top priority. “My team carry out regular beach cleans alongside volunteers from the local community, to ensure it remains safe for swimmers, surfers and walkers, as well as the diverse flora and fauna which inhabit the beach and nearby dunes, however, we would like to start at the root cause of the problem and remind people that it’s their responsibility to dispose of their waste correctly.
“Keep Britain Tidy research shows that one in five people admit to leaving rubbish behind at the beach, so the best way to tackle the issue is through education. We fully support any initiative that shines a light on the issues caused by leaving litter at the beach, and we hope this new campaign can have a positive impact on behaviours in the future.”
A litter pick will also be taking place as part of the action day and individuals and groups are invited to join from 10am until 12 noon.
Individuals are encouraged to keep their eyes peeled for material captured on the day which will be shared on partner social channels following the event.
Running alongside Clean Devon’s campaign, PFND is holding their ‘visitor campaign’ for its fifth consecutive year. The campaign offers free resources and support for local businesses to operate sustainably and encourages visitors to do the same. For more information and to get involved, please visit Plastic Free North Devon.