Rangers Rockpool Ramble

Rangers Rockpool Ramble

On Saturday 28th August, our young volunteer groups: Nature Rangers (10-13 years) Young Rangers (14-18yrs) and SeaScapes Beach Rangers (14-18yrs), joined Matt Barnes, from the Marine Conservation Society, for a summer celebration which involved a beach clean survey and rock pooling at Terrace/Red Acre beach, Seaham.

Despite many of our regulars being on holiday, we still had 15 enthusiastic young people, plus a few parents and leaders. Matt talked us through the plan and methodology, as the beach clean follows a standard methodology, also functioning as a litter survey.

People on beach clearing litter

Litter pickers with piles of cans, bottles and wipes (which should never be put down a toilet!)  

Sadly, after an hour we had collected a whopping 37kg of waste from a 100m x 15m transect area. We were so impressed with how hard the young people worked and on a very hot day, and we were also all so shocked at how much waste there was.

Matt reported back that: "Whilst it was nowhere near the dirtiest stretch I have surveyed, as some of my transects on the Humber get up to nearly 4000 pieces, it was, I am almost certain the highest drinks receptacles total I have had, which whilst depressing, does highlight the need for a Deposit Return Scheme (DRS), where you get cashback for plastic bottles and cans that you recycle or reuse. Aluminium cans, plastic bottles and glass bottles combined hit a staggering 619!"

Girl on beach with bag of litter

Countries like Germany already operating a DRS, have plastic bottle recycling rates of over 90% compared to our 59%. Though a DRS is in our government’s manifesto, progress has been very slow. After what we found on the beach this weekend, we have encouraged our young volunteers to write to their local MPs if they feel strongly enough about this problem.

Girl rockpooling

Once the beach clean was completed, we all headed over to the rockpools to see what we could find. Not surprisingly, with the strong waves, the few crabs we found were mostly well hidden and wedged in between rocks, but we managed to catch a couple of Shore crabs, plus a variety of small fish, butterfish and blennies, sea anemones and dog whelks.

Boy with crab

After a good clamber and explore around the rocks we felt a lot cooler, Dorinda Kealoha from the SeaScapes project chatted with us about rockpool life, we all grabbed an ice cream, and Matt amazed us with just how long some beach waste can take to decompose.

So, if you go down to the beach today, or even just to your bathroom, only flush the 3Ps (pee, poo and paper) and please be wise with your waste; refuse, reduce, reuse, recycle and let's clean up our beaches and countryside together!