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Our Green Story: The Big Visit South Devon Beach Clean
Here at Visit South Devon, our unwavering commitment to sustainability drives us to make meaningful contributions to our local community and environment. With this goal in mind, we initiated a beach clean-up event. We sought the guidance of The 2 Minute Foundation, an exceptional charity dedicated to the idea that even two minutes of effort can yield significant change.
Our beach clean unfolded on a balmy September day at Blackpool Sands Beach, nestled near the picturesque maritime town of Dartmouth. At first glance, the beach appeared relatively free of litter. However, as we began our meticulous search, we discovered a surprising abundance of discarded items. Among the more common finds were coffee cups, sugar sachets, tin foil, cigarette butts, and crisp packets. Yet, the true culprits turned out to be minuscule fragments of rubbish, known as micro-plastics, likely carried ashore by the sea. In a twist of curiosity, we also unearthed some unconventional items like underwear, plastic toy parts, and cable ties. It was a stark reminder that beaches can harbour a wide array of refuse, whether left behind by individuals or washed up from the ocean.
Our efforts were bolstered by the generous support of several local businesses that sponsored our event, including Salcombe Brewery, RFS Marketing, Stagecoach, Stoke Lodge Hotel, Cofton Holiday Park, and Sea Kayak Devon. Additionally, numerous members of the public joined us, driven by a shared desire to make a positive impact.
Following the beach clean, we extended an invitation to our event sponsors to participate in a sustainability workshop hosted by The 2 Minute Foundation at Kendricks Restaurant in Stoke Fleming, part of the Leonards Cove family. Here, we gleaned invaluable insights and practical tips for leading an eco-friendlier life. The workshop commenced with a thought-provoking discussion on the prevalence of plastic-based items in our daily routines, from hairbrushes to showers to car keys. It was eye-opening to realize how many plastic items we regularly use. While some items like cars or phone chargers are challenging to eliminate entirely, there are certainly numerous opportunities to reduce our everyday plastic consumption.
Here are some intriguing facts we uncovered through our engagement with The 2 Minute Foundation:
- Participating in beach cleans releases all four of our ‘happy hormones’ – serotonin, dopamine, endorphins, and oxytocin.
- The belief that plastic takes hundreds of years to break down is a misconception; plastic never truly decomposes. Instead, it breaks down into smaller particles called micro and nano-plastics, persistently entering our water, food, and even the air we breathe.
- Plastic production and pollution stand as the primary contributors to global warming, followed by agricultural farming and transportation.
- If we were to recover all the plastic currently existing in the world, we would eliminate the need to produce ‘virgin’ plastics entirely.
We encourage everyone to take a moment to assess the prevalence of plastic items in their own households and dedicate another moment to brainstorming environmentally friendly alternatives. This aligns perfectly with the core principles of the 2 Minute Foundation, where just two minutes of reflection can ignite transformative change. Simple actions, such as switching from a plastic toothbrush to a bamboo one or preparing homemade lunches instead of buying supermarket meal deals, can have a substantial collective impact.
For business owners, consider strategies to foster eco-consciousness among your employees. Implementing initiatives like cycle-to-work programs, carpooling schemes, or providing reusable coffee cups and water bottles can significantly reduce reliance on single-use items.
If you’re interested in participating in a beach clean, The 2 Minute Foundation has established litter collection points at various beaches, green spaces, and towns in South Devon and beyond. Join us in taking this small yet impactful step towards safeguarding our planet. Don’t forget to tag @VisitSouthDevon when sharing your beach clean photos on Facebook, Twitter (X), or Instagram!
Tia Bryant, Visit South Devon
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