Silent Disco Beach Cleans!
By Ruby Storthard
Wild Coast Sussex Volunteer
Litter on our beaches poses a huge threat to our local marine wildlife. To help tackle this, Wild Coast Sussex have offered a fun, hands-on way for young people to engage with protecting our seas through a series of silent disco beach cleans! I got involved with this incentive over the summer months and met some passionate budding marine conservationists across East Sussex.
On a sunny afternoon in Hove, we boogied along the strandline to disco tunes, armed with gloves and litter pickers. The group found plenty of bottle caps, fishing line and microplastics. Thanks to the Great British Beach Clean week, some areas were cleaner than others, but this didn’t stop the fun as we learned how to identify the different mermaid’s purses (shark and skate eggcases) that had washed up on the shore! Undulate Rays and Small-Spotted Catsharks were among the eggcases we found, and for many participants this was a new learning experience, with the post-clean survey results stating ‘finding mermaid’s purses’ and ‘learning mermaid purse facts’ as something they have done for the first time at the event!
We also identified cuttlefish bones and stacks of slipper limpets, giving the participants a greater knowledge of their local marine wildlife: ‘I’ve lived here my whole life but have never known what these are!” It was wonderful to see everyone’s connection to the coast deepening.
On a blustery day at Seven Sisters, young people taking part in the Wild Coast Weekend danced along to another silent disco beach clean, collecting a mighty amount of litter! With the help of local charity Strandliners, we sorted through the litter found, learning about where the most common pollutants come from, and how to identify, sort and record beach litter on our own beach cleans.
I hope this article can encourage some more people to get boogying and beach cleaning, and you may be surprised by what you find!