Community Beach Cleaning

Community Beach Cleaning

In recent years, people are much more aware of looking after our beaches and marine environment. It wasn’t always like that though. One voluntary group at Cleveleys has been at the forefront of the campaign for clean beaches since 2008.

Rossall Beach Residents & Community Group were the first beach care group on the Fylde Coast. They invite you to community beach cleans at Cleveleys. They’re held every 4 weeks on the northern stretch of pebbly seafront, between The Venue and Rossall School.

Why don’t you join in?

Four Weekly Community Beach Cleaning

Sign Up

Everyone is welcome to come along. Wrap up warm and meet at 9.30am in the car park area on Rossall Promenade, FY5 1LP. Find the dates in the Visit Fylde Coast events guide, and on the Rossall Beach Buddies Facebook page.

There’s no need to register or to be a member of the group. You can just turn up meet near to the tall sign board and flag pole against the beach. You’ll see people gathering there.

Beach cleans start with a quick 2 minute safety briefing and a round-up of what the Rossall Beach Group are up to. If meetings aren’t your thing it’s a way to keep up with what’s happening.

Meet for a briefing before community beach cleaning
Meet for a briefing before community beach cleaning

You’ll be provided with equipment including gloves, litter pickers and sacks. Just make sure that you dress according to the weather. Bear in mind that if it’s a bit breezy where you live there’s an odds on chance that it will be blowing a gale on the beach. So in cool weather make sure you wrap up warm, and on sunny days wear sunscreen. Please wear sensible shoes for walking on the pebbles.

If the weather on the day of the clean is too windy or too wet it will be cancelled and a notice posted by 8.30am on the Rossall Beach Buddies Facebook page. Please check before travelling as the weather on the coastline can be different to that inland.

Make Friends and Have Fun

The group beach clean until about 10.45/11am and then make their way to The Venue for coffee. That’s why it’s known as ‘Beach Clean and a Brew’.

Beach cleaning can be quite a solitary activity with people litter picking on their own. The ‘brew’ adds a bit of a social element, because making friends and having fun is at the heart of everything that the Rossall Beach Group do.

Coffee at The Venue after the community beach clean in Cleveleys

Even if the beach clean part of the morning doesn’t go ahead, the coffee morning will still be on. Please come to The Venue anyway – anytime from 10.30am.

Rubbish on the Beach

The organised beach cleans cover the area from The Venue to the Five Bar Gate near Rossall School.

This beach doesn’t generally get covered in water at high tide. There’s a continual strandline along the pebbles and it includes sea borne rubbish of all kinds.

Community beach cleaning at Cleveleys
Community beach cleaning at Cleveleys

The amount of litter left behind depends on the weather. Rough seas and high winds carry the biggest amount of plastics and non-degradable rubbish which they leave behind to be physically removed. Very little litter is actually dropped here by people using the beach and promenade – largely due to the adequate numbers of litter bins.

It’s important to remove the plastic from the beach – not only does it look unsightly but it is also a serious threat to wildlife.

Marine mammals like seals, plus fish and birds eat the plastic believing it to be jellyfish or other digestible food. It can eventually fill their stomachs so that they then starve to death, like the bird in the next photo.

This is why we do community beach cleaning - this bird has starved to death with a stomach full of plastic
This is why we do community beach cleaning – this bird has starved to death with a stomach full of plastic

Fishing line, balloon litter and rope can tangle around animals, birds and fish. It stops them from swimming and flying and they drown. Or it just snags and catches then and acts like a noose. And so it goes on….

Guillemot hung from balloon litter. Photo: National Trust - Richard Gilbert
Guillemot hung from balloon litter. Photo: National Trust – Richard Gilbert

A Helping Hand to the Environment

Beach cleaning is a never ending task, like painting the Forth Bridge. At each clean a lot of rubbish is removed, sometimes up to half a tonne in one morning. If it was left, the cumulative effect of it all would be too horrible to think about. Each pile of sacks represents a huge helping hand to the environment.

These events are run in conjunction with Wyre Council Waterfront Rangers and and helped by volunteer Rangers. Anyone can come along and help, no matter where they live. All that matters is that you have an interest in the beach and making it look nice. Plus helping to improve the environment for the wildlife that lives in the water and on the beach.

There’s been a definite reduction in the amount of litter which is picked up at each monthly clean. And that’s all down to the work of the volunteers.

Beach cleaning is a vital part of improving water quality – not only does it improve our seas and beaches, it also provides hands-on awareness of what ends up in our water courses and ultimately the sea, and gives an understanding of how you can play your own part at home in helping to improve bathing water quality on the Fylde Coast.

Beach Clean on your Own

When you come to the beach please feel free to pick up any litter which you see on your travels and pop it in a bin.

The more people who pick up just one piece of litter, the cleaner our beach and sea will be. Don’t forget that litter can easily blow from pavements and highways onto the beach, so picking that up is a big help too.

Rossall Beach Residents & Community Group also runs a Lone Beach Cleaner programme. If you can’t make it along to the monthly organised events, this enables you to go out on your own at a time to suit yourself.

You’ll need to be a member of the group, then register as a Lone Beach Cleaner. Collect your litter picking kit and guidelines after you’ve signed up and away you go.

While you’re here…

Have a look at the Visit Cleveleys website homepage for more of the latest updates.

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What do you think? Leave a comment

  1. Avatar

    It’s very interesting and encouraging to read about beach cleaning in clevleys
    I was wondering what happens to the rubbish after it’s been collected

    1. Avatar

      Hi Marion, the rubbish isn’t the kind that can be recycled. If you saw it you’d cringe! Unfortunately it goes off to landfill… The answer, as people are starting to understand, is reducing consumption of plastic at source.

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