ENVIRONMENTALLY-MINDED youngsters braved the weather to help clean a beach as part of a national project.
The team of youngsters joined volunteers from Natural England to collect 16 bags of rubbish as part of the Marine Conservation Society’s Beachwatch project.
Organisers say they collected more than 1,000 items of domestic and industrial waste from Blackhall beach, including a number of balloons that had been released in the air and can be dangerous to wildlife when they are washed up.
The event was co-ordinated by Joe Davies, Natural England’s outreach advisor based at Castle Eden Dene Natural Nature Reserve, said: “The data will now help the MCS identify the main sources of litter at Blackhall beach and keep the dangers of marine litter high on the local agenda.
“The beach litter survey recorded a total of 1,098 items, most common items found on the day included plastics items like bottle caps and lids, mining waste like belts and hoses and fishing line.
“These beach cleans are vital as the litter isn’t just insightly, it can also be very dangerous to both humans and wildlife.”
One of the problems identified was the number of discarded balloons they found from celebrations and launch events that have been released into the air and washed up on the beach.
Mr Davies added: “Our junior conservation group The Dene Team carry out an annual coastal litter survey for the MCS and every year they find large quantities of balloons and ribbons washed up on the beach.
“The area surveyed is no larger than 300ft stretch of beach and when you multiply this by the total length of our beaches around the country and take into account of how many balloons are still at sea, it hits home about the scale of this problem.
“Don’t be fooled either when told that these are biodegradable balloons, yes in six months or so they might be, but try explaining that to a child who’s found a dead seabird washed up tangled in one.”
Anyone interested in becoming an environmental volunteer can contact Mr Davies on (0191) 5860004.