Coatsink clean up at Roker Beach!

Jun 29, 2022

To celebrate our one year anniversary in June 2022, the Coatsink Sustainability Committee organised a group of 33 Coatsinkers to take part in a Team Beach Clean and survey in collaboration with the Marine Conservation Society.

We had an early start, travelling to Roker beach in Sunderland (close to our old home in the Sunderland Software Centre), to meet Volunteer & Community Engagement Manager, Matt Barnes, at 9:00am.

Matt kicked off the day by showing us items he’d found on local beaches, some of which were decades old but still in near pristine condition, giving us a very real demonstration of just how long litter survives in the marine environment. He talked about what happens when marine wildlife comes into contact with these items, often with devastating effect. We also had a go at placing litter items on a timeline to further help us understand how pervasive litter is with many items taking hundreds of years to break down.

Matt talked to us about the importance of the litter survey we’d be contributing to. Cleaning the beach is of course worthwhile, but the real power is in the data which the survey collects. This is evidence that can be used to lobby governments and push for legislative change, influence industrial practices and drive campaigns which impact individual behaviour, all of which can bring about significant and long-lasting change.

So, after donning some lovely hi-vis jackets and protective gloves, we got started and for the next couple of hours we surveyed and cleaned our 100-metre stretch of beach.

The Results Are In!

  • We collected 2,994 items.
  • Weighing 14.5kg
  • 78% of items collected were plastic
  • 13% were sanitary items
  • 167 fishing lines
  • 126 plastic cotton buds
  • 270 wet wipes
  • 541 small polystyrene fragments
  • 109 cigarette stubs
  • 594 small plastic fragments
  • 189 larger plastic fragments

It was an eye opening experience. When we arrived we thought the beach looked clean but soon realised there were seemingly endless small items lurking. And, as Matt told us, it’s these items which often pose the biggest threat as they are easily eaten by unsuspecting marine animals.

For more information about the vital work the Marine Conservation Society does, check out their website. We had a fantastic time and plan on making this beach cleaning a regular thing!

Keep an eye out for the DEI Committee’s blog about our Pride Month celebrations to see what we got up to in the afternoon!…

It's Emma Blenkinsop!

Emma B - Administration Manager

Emma is the Administration Manager and a member of the Senior Management Team at Coatsink. She has a particular interest in the environment and sustainability and heads up our Sustainability Committee.

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