Journey to the Sea - part 1

>>  Sunday, January 24, 2021

Late spring we had a lovely warm spell and national lockdown 1 combined.  People had a lot of time on their hands to go sit in areas other than their gardens. But no time to bag their litter up and take it home.

We bordered a town where the lockdown continued even after the national lockdown had ended, so the visitors continued to come.

It became a bit bothersome (understatement), people were travelling here from miles away and the locals were very vocal about it on social media.

Unfortunately the locals were inclined only to moan about it.

So I went out and bought myself a litter picker and a roll of bin bags and started to go down there a few times a week and pick up the mess.

So much mess!

Bottles floating.
Smashed bottles
Masks, so many masks.

So many socks, pants, flip flops, t-shirts, shorts I could have opened a clothes shop.

My main motivation for wanting to pick up the mess was the birds.  This is not my photo, but it is what spurred me on.

The area I was clearing is a local area of special interest.  There are lots of migrating and nesting birds here.

The activity of 100s and 100s of people coming to the water every day started to affect the fish.  

The rats in the area increased because of the amount of food waste.

It was a never ending mess.

Bottles, food packets, tins, clothes, masks, condoms, pregnancy tests, cigarette ends, BBQs, float aids, hats, baby bottles, used nappies, used sanatary items (don't ask me about the tampax tree - all the girls went there!) - if a human could leave it, it was left.


Bear in mind this is a private water, with no public access to the shore line, not safe for swimming and no boating allowed.  And yet they brought their boats.  

And quite often left them behind too.

One day I was picking litter and a mini drove past me and parked up.  They put the box of a blow up boat on the roof of the car as I walked past.  When I came back the car was gone, the box and popped boat were in its place.

They came, they drank, they ate, they swam, they left....their rubbish behind.

I was going to the water day after day
getting very frustrated with the rubbish I couldn't reach.
occassionally I'd shout to the young adults in the water to throw the rubbish up to me so I could bag it.

I gave them bags to put their rubbish in.

But still they left it behind.
They left it in interesting places.
They left it without consuming it.
The summer evenings were long and warm.
The McDonalds wrappers were free flowing.

I'd leave the water at half eight or nine at night having picked litter after work.  I'd go back by 10am the next day and they would be a whole new batch to be picked.

It felt endless, but I knew why I was doing it.

In the summer the water has large shore lines,  the litter was strewn all over it.  

But in the winter there is no shore.

The water is high, laps the road and overflows to the river.

So I carried on picking.

Over 300 bags by the time autumn came around and the visitors slowly petered out into odd cars of KFC throwers and cannabis smokers.

I carried on walking the shore line, still picking the remnents of the summer fun.  As the undergrowth died back, more and more litter continued to be exposed. 
Once the visitors quietened down, the fly-tippers could give it a go.

I tried to pull some of it out.

But sadly the rain started before I could finish it and off floating it went.

But for all the hard work, of the months of spring, summer and autumn it was worth it.  It was good exercise, I made new friends of the fishermen and the guy currently renting the old boat house (all of whom were also clearing up the mess.)

But mostly I have an overriding memory of spending a lot of time enjoying and helping nature.



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