UK’s biggest ever beach clean set to revitalise people and planet

As restrictions begin to ease and warmer weather beckons, many of us are looking forward to getting out and about in nature and visiting our favourite beauty spots. But sadly, one of the effects of the pandemic has been an increase in the volume of single use plastic littering our countryside and coastline.

Imagine the impact if 100,000 of us committed to clear up 10 miles of our local beach or green space. The result would be one million miles cleared by the end of the year, protecting oceans, beaches and wildlife – and providing a much-needed boost as we emerge from lockdown.

Today, Surfers Against Sewage unveiled their Million Mile Beach Clean campaign – the most ambitious community clean ever undertaken – which sets out to achieve exactly that. And the message definitely hit home, with blanket coverage spanning broadcast, print and online media, including prime-time slots on BBC Breakfast, BBC Radio 4’s Today programme and Sky News.

Seal of Approval

To mark the launch of the Million Mile Beach Clean, Greenhouse coordinated a 50-metre sand art installation at Cayton Bay in Yorkshire, with the help of the brilliant team at Sand In Your Eye.

Photo credit: Richard McCarthy/PA

The striking image, intended to highlight the devastating impacts of plastic pollution on marine wildlife, has been featured widely, including in the Guardian, BBC News, The Times, Daily Express, Independent and Newsround, and film footage of the installation being created has been viewed far and wide.

Hugo Tagholm, Chief Executive of Surfers Against Sewage, commented: “The ocean is under threat and we are running out of time to save it. We want to inspire an army of ocean activists to join the cause and put an end to plastic pollution in the UK. After more than a year of isolation, social distancing and reduced physical activity, the Million Mile Beach Clean reconnects communities with the environment and provides numerous benefits to mental health and physical wellbeing. Sign up and get involved today and together we can make a difference.”

The Million Mile Beach Clean is part of a new environmental initiative, the Million Mile Clean, encouraging people to get out locally, on streets, country lanes, in parks and along local waterways to tackle plastic pollution and litter.

While the initiative will run throughout 2021, the first week of action will take place between 15-23 May. Surfers Against Sewage are calling on people across the UK to join the biggest ever beach clean and register to lead a clean during this period. To get involved, visit the website here and track the number of miles cleaned via the Strava Club community group.

Gillian Burke, wildlife presenter and biologist, said: “Making the connection between mental health and environment is key in mobilising communities in the right way and the Million Mile Beach Clean does just that. 100,000 volunteers, each cleaning their local beach or river or street or mountain – the impact speaks for itself. It’s ambitious, it’s physical, I’m in!”

The initiative will last throughout the UN Decade of Ocean Science, delivering one million miles per year, ten million by 2030 and aligning with SAS’s ten-year ambition of ending plastic pollution on UK beaches by 2030.

Greenhouse works with organisations and leaders who are pioneering climate action. Whether it’s finance, food, fashion, or farming, if you’ve got a great story and need our help to tell it, get in touch with the Greenhouse team on 0117 214 1250 or email info@greenhousepr.co.uk.

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