Grays Beachcombers get involved in Thurrock 100

Report by Steve Catchpole of the Grays Beachcombers.

SLIGHTLY different day yesterday than was originally envisaged, but the mandala got finished before high tide on Saturday with Kara the artist and Ali from Thurrock100 Walking Arts Group directing and Katie keeping us socially distanced and Sharon and I pushing the wheelbarrows again!

Special thanks to all those who had collected the “Plastic Gems” over the last year. Also thanks to Antonio and his team at Thurrock Council who supported us again yesterday.

Many of the white discs were designed and made by children from the local community. The five life-rings and black trays were filled with thousands of sorted coloured pieces of plastic such as bottle tops, cotton bud sticks, lollypop sticks, pens, disposable lighters etc.

The wheelbarrows were filled with some of the 68,309 plastic bottles we have collected in the last 4 years. The ring of bottles and aerosol cans represented the 30,439 bottles and over 500 aerosol cans collected in the last year. 18 hard hats rescued from the river were included to represent the 50+ hats collected in in just 12 months. Shoes, footballs, tennis balls were also included to represent the 1,824 sacks of rubbish picked in the last 12 months by 673 volunteers who attended 92 events.

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In total, in the last 4 years we have held 246 litter picks filling 5,604 sacks including the 68,309 single use plastic bottles in the stretch of river foreshore between Rainham and Tilbury in Essex (thanks Clive for the data).= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = == = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = 
Hopefully the mandala event will encourage a conversation about the amount of plastics, especially small pieces, that are being found on the Thames estuary foreshores and how plastic dependency can be reduced.

Based upon accurate dating of some of the plastics we know that some plastic items being deposited on the foreshores during major storms are between 35 and 45 years old. The question we are asking is where have these plastic pieces been during this time?

For those on Facebook, why not head off to Thurrock100 to read and see more.

Finally: Given the latest COVID-19 rules, I will be sending an update in the next couple of days regarding future litterpicking events that I will be running.

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