Voice of Experience: SAS clean leader on taking the fight against single-use plastics away from the beach

Meg Lampard (front row on the right)

 

Volunteering in the community takes time, dedication and a can-do attitude – which is why, not only is the work appreciated, but it’s also vital to helping charities achieve their missions.

Take, for example, the thousands of volunteers who get involved with beach cleans, plastic-free campaigning and fighting back against sewage in their communities every year, with our support.

Each year, thousands of pieces of waste are collected from the local environment by people all over the UK, before it can make its way into the sea and become a part of the food chain – making these volunteers the cornerstones of our overarching marine conservation ethos.

But what makes them do it? And why do they carry on?

Meg Lampard is a beach clean leader based in Fareham, Hampshire, who has been organising the Big Spring Beach Clean and Autumn Beach Clean events in her area for the last four years.

She said:

“It’s a great feeling getting a bunch of likeminded individuals together to tackle a problem and then being able to see the difference it makes.

People are happy to come along to be by the sea, so the events are always upbeat and, knowing it’s a Surfers Against Sewage (SAS) clean, the council and partners know that all the boxes will be ticked as well, so are happy to let me get on with it.”

Growing up in Cornwall, Meg says she was aware of SAS’s early campaign to clean up bathing waters, where she spent a of time as a child.

The work at the time is what inspired her to get involved later on.

She said:

“SAS gained a lot of kudos amongst the local community for the work they did back then and it’s good to be able to give something back now as a thank you.

It feels good to get out and see change happen and once you’ve tackled your first clean, the rest seems fairly straightforward!”

During her cleans, Meg likes to provide drinks and snacks, with the help of local partners, so people have a chance to chat together after and make new connections each time.

She also says the initial setting up is quite simple – involving a few quick emails and phone calls to her local council before then contacting her local network of groups to help raise awareness for the clean itself.

She said:

“We clean right next to the Haven National Nature Reserve and it’s good to know that the birds and wildlife have a better chance of surviving here, as there will be less plastic on the beach.

I partner up with other local groups too, so it’s definitely a community event.”

It’s this dedication and commitment to her local environment that means Meg is now getting ready to take on Plastic Free Fareham, in a bid to impassion local businesses as much as the local people to do their part in ridding the world of single-use plastic.

But, for those thinking about getting involved in their own clean, she added:

“SAS make it simple with a step by step guide to running a clean.

It may seem daunting but the feeling of accomplishing the clean is incredibly uplifting.”

If you would like to become a beach clean leader or get involved with your own local clean, visit our website at www.sas.org.uk or contact us directly at beachcleans@sas.org.uk.

Article written on behalf of SAS by Hazel Murray

The post Voice of Experience: SAS clean leader on taking the fight against single-use plastics away from the beach appeared first on Surfers Against Sewage.

SAS Autumn Beach Clean Heads Further Inland in Bid to Stop Plastic Entering the Sea

Urban areas are set to become a staple of one beach cleaning campaign – as more inland towns and cities join the fight against plastic pollution than ever before.

We introduced our ‘Summit to Sea’ project earlier this year, encouraging cities and towns to get involved with the beach cleaning initiative.

As part of our mission, two national week-long events are held each year – the Big Spring Beach Clean and the Autumn Beach Clean, which aim to protect coastlines, create cleaner oceans and clean up inland areas.

And with the Autumn Beach Clean: Summit to Sea set to be held in a matter of weeks (October 19th -27th), volunteers from across the UK are striving to rid beaches, mountains, rivers and city streets of harmful pollution.

Jess Morris, one of our Regional Reps based in London, said:

“I think SAS has such an important role to play here in London. As the capital city, everyone looks to London to lead the way on many levels.

We need to lead by example and show new and active ways to save our oceans and planet.

A city like this produces a staggering amount of waste and, with the Thames running like the main artery through the city, we have a responsibility to act now!”

Having first got involved with SAS in 2005, Jess started helping out with beach cleans when holidaying with her family in Cornwall.

She then went on to study photography at Falmouth University, where she became even more immersed in our work, before moving back to London.

She said:

“After moving to London, I was shocked by the lack of environmental consciousness in the city and I decided that I would do as much as I could to raise awareness.

That’s when I got in contact with SAS head office and became a Rep.”

Today, however, she says things are changing, as people begin to take their local environment more seriously.

She added:

“We now have over 30 Plastic Free Communities based here in London, who are all working extremely hard towards their SAS plastic-free status [see https://www.sas.org.uk/plastic-free-communities/ for more info].

Awareness has increased dramatically, and individuals are starting to actively get involved either with us or on their own – I get contacted daily by individuals and business asking for help and advice on how they can reduce their own impact and encourage others to do so.”

With numerous cleaning events now regularly being held around the city, including litter-picking hen do parties, she says that this year the London Reps are planning a huge Autumn Beach Clean event at the ‘Wake Up Dockland’ centre, on Saturday 19th October.

She said:

“We are hoping it will be our biggest gathering to date here in the city, as we are encouraging all the Plastic Free Communities to join us.

We want to unite the whole of London and stand together. We want to use this event as a platform to show London that SAS is in the city and we are fighting for our planet.”

As part of the Autumn Beach Clean events, thousands of volunteers rally their communities every year to remove things like plastic waste for a cleaner, safer environment – and, over the last eight years since its inception in 2011, the Autumn Beach Clean has seen 1,419 cleans organised.

That is thanks to 50,033 volunteers, who have cleared 114,341kg of plastic pollution from beaches and rivers across the UK during this event to date.

To get involved, volunteers can find their nearest clean (or volunteer to lead their own) at https://www.sas.org.uk/our-work/beach-cleans/ or by emailing beachcleans@sas.org.uk.

Article written on behalf of SAS by Hazel Murray

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