Volunteers fighting to stem the tide of plastic waste on Hastings and Rother beaches

Volunteers have been tackling plastic waste and other environmental issues on our local beaches with the help of a local community interest company.

Strandliners was founded by Andy Dinsdale in 2012 and became a Community Interest Company in 2018.

The company has doubled its activities since joining forces with Rother Voluntary Action (RVA) to deliver the innovative ‘Clean Seas Please’ project based in Bexhill.

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Since the summer, Strandliners has increased its citizen-science beach-survey events, extending its reach and gaining even more valuable data to help stop future beach and water contamination.

Strandliners beach cleaning volunteers SUS-210411-075810001

This has involved nearly 200 enthusiastic volunteers to survey local beaches, identifying a variety of environmental pollution hazards.

They have also taken part in nurdle hunting at Camber Sands. Nurdles are pre-production plastic pellets lost in transit. These micro-plastic pellets are everywhere.

The Great British Beach Clean, held at Pett Level, Winchelsea Beach, Hastings and Bexhill found large amounts of mainly plastic pollution.

Andy Dinsdale said: “The full list makes for dispiriting reading.

Strandliners bagging up rubbish at Fairlight Cove SUS-210411-075821001

“It included over 100 single use food packaging items in one site and 63 cigarette stubs at another.

“There were tissues and wet wipes too, The list is endless. And they all finish up on the beach - whether dropped directly, or inland and washed by rain into gutters, drains, water courses, rivers, out to sea and back again to litter our coastline.

“Yet the proportion of plastic is decreasing in survey sites - but before we start to celebrate, this is simply because more people are removing it from beaches, not because we have successfully reduced the source of plastic waste yet.

“Monitoring coastal plastic pollution depends on our dedicated teams of volunteers. But an effective survey cannot function without a range of equipment. From safety ‘hi-vis’ jackets, litter-pickers, gloves, throw lines, etc.

“This necessary expense has been funded by the generous support of Rother District Council, Little Cheyne Court Wind Farm Community Fund and Rye Fund at The Sussex Community Foundation. These organisations fully support a greener, cleaner environment.”

Andy added: “Come and join us. Strandliners and ‘Clean Seas Please’ are currently welcoming new volunteers. So if you’d like to come along to a beach survey or just find out more, please go to www.Strandliners.org.”

Clean Seas Please is funded by the Environment Agency and delivered by Rother Voluntary Action and Strandliners.