Sunny weekends in Swansea see hundreds of people flocking to the Gower coastlines which has a shocking aftermath in terms of the rubbish left on the beaches.
Swansea Council encountered thousands of empty beer bottles, used barbecues and nappies when they arrived to clean litter at Swansea Bay after the weekend of the 8th April which was one of the hottest days of the year for some parts of Wales. Broken glass from beer bottles was also seen at Langland Bay where a local from the area, Alison Dickson, said that it causes problems for families with young children who walk barefoot on the beaches.
To tackle the problem of beach litter, during April 2017 a beach clean at Llangennith, Gower was hosted by the environmental charity SAS (Surfers Against Sewage). The clean saw 140 volunteers clearing 130 bags of rubbish off the beach in the space of just two hours.
One of the locals of the area that came to clean the beach, Robert, said “I go surfing here and walking. I’ve collected a pile of plastic and all sorts of glass, bottles and rope which is the worst one. You don’t actually realise how much is on the beach until you look around and start picking up little bottle tops and lighters.”
“Animals can choke on things, birds as well, and rubbish can blow into the fields where the sheep and cows are and affect them too. In a matter of just fifteen to twenty minutes we’ve collected 2 full bags of rubbish. There’s just so much to clean up here but there’s lots of people helping. I think more people should be aware of beach litter and its effect on the environment.”
An interview with a local beach cleaner. Filmed by Ellie Thompson
A former Marine Biology student at Swansea University, Tammy Schuh, says, “People are walking their dogs on the beautiful beaches of Gower because they love taking them to nice places and enjoying the views. But then they leave the bags just around the corner where nobody can see it, in the sand dunes, on the rocky shore but not in the bins. This is not only a Gower or UK problem but a global issue. It is even killing other terrestrial animals, like horses!”
“During the summer,” she says, “everyone gets excited because turtles are returning into Welsh waters, but at the same time bonfires and evening drinks happen on the beach. Then the next tide comes in and washes the litter out into the sea.”
“One day, when I was walking in the beautiful sand dunes near Swansea Marina, I witnessed teenagers celebrating the last day of school by smashing their glass bottles on the beach and leaving behind this awful mess. But they came to the beach because it’s a nice place to celebrate. It just doesn’t make any sense.”
Throughout her Marine Biology studies at Swansea University, Miss Schuh took part in many beach cleans. “The Marine Biology Society and the Conservation Society organised several beach cleans together with Friends of Swansea Bay where we filled up an incredible amount of bags,” she said. “It was shocking to see how much litter there was on the beach, especially around Black Pill where we found heaps of golf tees.”
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