Friday, January 11, 2013

Washed ashore ....

Did you know ...

  • That an estimated 18,000 pieces of plastic float in every square kilometre of ocean.
  •  It is only when it washes ashore that most people get an idea of how much rubbish must actually be out in our oceans and the impacts that this has on marine life and seabirds.
  •  This is also our best opportunity to remove it from the environment before the next tide washes it back out to sea again. 

The last couple of visits to our local beaches has highlighted to me the amount of plastic that does get washed up with each tide.  Most of the beaches that we frequent are graded with machinery each day or so to make them safer for the public - despite this plastic products are left behind by beach-goers or washed up with each tide.
Last visit, as we walked back to the car park I made a conscience effort to pick up each piece of plastic that I saw. I found nine plastic items (on a walk about 100 metres) ...

I'm sure that I could have collected more (and encouraged the rest of the family to do the same!!) but I already had my hands full with bags, towels and other beach paraphernalia .... so, this started me thinking.
I had seen 'beachcomber bags' before on different websites designed for collecting shells, rocks etc, so I had a look around the house to make a version of my own.
I have used some nylon flyscreen netting (around 60cm x 30cm). I folded this in half and stitched along two sides with my sewing machine to make a pocket shape. I then used some vintage sheeting (as it was the first thing I stumbled over in my craft room) and made a casing for the top. Into that I threaded some cord to make a drawstring top. 
The completed bag - the mesh is a bit hard to photograph

Here is the completed bag with the plastic items that I collected.
The beauty with the mesh is that you can give it a dunk in the water to remove any sand.
It folds up and can be tied into a bundle to fit in your beach bag .
I find it is sometimes best to bring the rubbish home and place it your recycling bin, if appropriate, as often bins at the beach or picnic spots become full quickly especially over holiday periods.
Next beach visit, I will encourage the family to play a 'Treasure Hunt' game to pick up plastic litter - for example, points allocated to the person to find 3 red pieces of plastic, 3 lollypop sticks, 3 spoons etc. - most points win a prize!
If you are playing with your family, make sure that you educate your children about dangerous plastic items that may be found at the beach such as syringes, condoms and cigarette lighters.

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