Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Have you thanked your beach today?


A few weeks ago we spent an amazing weekend camper vanning in Cornwall. The sun shone and we had a lovely time. We had planned to head for Eden to show our kids a marvel of our world but instead we ended up at a tiny beach not far from Mevagissey. We made camp and cooked up home made lamb and mint burgers in the van (much to the envy of our neighbours) and then splashed out on a Cornish ice cream. Oh how we live! The beach was stunning but, like many other beaches on our coast, it had its fair share of rubbish. Some would have floated in from the sea, some left by holidaymakers, some lost by the fishing fleet. All of it damages the marine environment in some way or other. If it's plastic it will never go away. It'll just break down into smaller and smaller pieces.
On the way home we went to Gweek Seal Sanctuary near Helston. The kids loved it. Seeing the seals was a real thrill. Then they noticed this one. You can see the scar on its neck. We asked one of the keepers what had happened to it. Apparently this young seal was found in a very bad way with a fishing net around his neck. The net, discarded or lost, was still doing its work, long after being separated from its owner. It's called ghost fishing.
There's a point to be made here isn't there? It's quite simple I think. If you enjoyed a day out somewhere, anywhere, it wouldn't be too hard to take a piece of someone else's litter home with you. You could easily dispose of it or, better still recycle it. A bottle, a bag, an aluminium can, a piece of fishing net. Think of it as a small 'thank you' to the beach for giving you a nice day. To a seal like this one, it could mean a lot more than that.

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