STATISTICS which appear to show Shoreham Beach has the worst litter record in West Sussex have disappointed volunteers who hold regular clean-up sessions.
Friends of Shoreham Beach refuted the ‘dirtiest beach in West Sussex’ claim, following data released by the Marine Conservation Society on Thursday.
The annual Great British Beach Clean report showed 783 litter items were collected on Shoreham Beach, filling 20 bags of litter. The beach clean was carried out on Sunday, September 21, by 35 members and volunteers, organised by Friends of Shoreham Beach.
Other beaches monitored in West Sussex included Rustington, with 662 items of litter in four bags, East Worthing with 182 items of litter in two bags, and central Worthing with 383 items of litter in two bags.
John Charlish, the Friends’ committee member responsible for beach cleans, said although Shoreham’s litter collection was the largest, it merely demonstrated the enthusiasm of the volunteers.
“We took part in the MCS National Beach Clean event last year and were overwhelmed with the support, both local and from as far afield as London,” he explained.
I think the MCS has mistakenly interpreted that the amount collected implies a filthy beach. Not so, we just were very diligentJohn Charlish, Friends of Shoreham Beach committee member
“A massive clean up resulted in more than 30 bags of litter being taken off the beach. This was collected from the beach huts area of Beach Green, to the West Arm of the port.
“As we were one of the few beaches in the south to take part in the National Beach Clean day and because of the great work of our volunteers, I think the MCS has mistakenly interpreted that the amount collected implies a filthy beach. Not so, we just were very diligent.”
Shoreham Beach is recognised as a Local Nature Reserve and visited by many on a daily basis. It also ends at the mouth of a busy port, so some of the detritus washed is dropped by visitors and some comes from shipping.
The Friends organise their own beach cleans on a regular basis and support those organised by such groups as Marks and Spencer, the Princes Trust and schools.
Joy Daintee, the former chairman, said: “We have always tried to look after the beach and its unique flora in a supportive way and clearing rubbish has always been high on the agenda of every meeting.
“With the coming warm weather, Shoreham Beach becomes a very popular picnic spot and most people gather up their remains and deposit them in the bins as they leave.
“At the end of the day, these bins are often full and are an immediate attraction for crows, foxes and seagulls, who tear open the bags and scatter inedible plastic far and wide.
“Taking litter home helps dramatically and, if you have to leave your litter, please make sure you put it into an empty bin.
“Bins are situated at every entrance to the beach and Adur Council is very good about emptying them regularly. There really is no excuse. If anyone visiting the beach picked up one piece of sea-borne litter and ensured they didn’t drop any of their own, be it sweet papers or dog mess in black bags, then our work would be much easier.”
The Friends’ next beach clean will be held on Saturday, April 11, starting at Shoreham Fort at 2pm. Refreshments will be provided at Food For Fort and tours of the fort will be available.
Visit www.fosbeach.com for more information, go to the Friends Of Shoreham Beach Facebook page or use @FSOBeach to follow them on Twitter.
Friends of Shoreham Beach will also help groups to organise their own beach cleans and offer talks to local groups about the nature reserve and the danger faced to wildlife by water-borne litter.