Cleaning up Reculver beach on Community Action Day
As part of The Panoply group of companies, Manifesto aims to dedicate 1% of our time to purpose-driven activities, outside of the great day-to-day work that we do. Friday 13th September was the group’s first Community Action Day, and saw a team composed of Manifesto, Deeson and Greenshoot Labs staffers travelling down to Kent, to meet up with team members from Deeson’s Canterbury office and clean up Reculver beach.
Luck had it that the weather was beautiful, so we were even more keen to get out in the fresh air and do our bit for the environment. We were met by a member of Canterbury Council who told us all about Reculver beach (about 3 miles east of Herne Bay), its history (including being a test area for bouncing bombs in the Second World War), and the council’s involvement in beach cleans and educating younger generations about the impact of plastic waste in our seas.
In the first half of our day, a smaller group of the team set out to remove and record the rubbish that they found on a 100m section of the beach, for the Marine Conservation Society (MCS). Everything from cotton buds to lolly sticks, plastic cutlery and tangled nets. To the point they ran out of space to record their findings. This data is used by the MCS, alongside other beach clean data to prove to decision makers and leaders that our seas are in trouble. They also talk to companies whose logos keep showing up on beach litter to work with the manufacturers to find solutions. You can find out more about MCS beach cleans here.
Little plastic, big problems
Meanwhile the rest of the team spread out, and took a longer stroll down the beach, bin bag and litter picking in gloved hands to remove any beach litter we came across. One thing that really stood out to the team was how the beach looked really clean at first glance. Often when you think of a dirty beach, you think litter left behind from people picnicking on the beach with friends and family. But actually, on closer inspection, the sea washes up tiny plastic particles known as microplastics. These are bits of plastic, less than five millimeters long, which can be harmful to our ocean and aquatic life. It was estimated in 2014 that there are between 15 and 51 trillion individual pieces of microplastic in the world’s oceans. While they don’t pose a serious widespread risk at the moment (except in small pockets), that will change soon if we keep polluting at the same rate.
We also found plastic bottles wedged between rocks, a BBQ, and a part of an expandable garden hose wheel. Plus lots of other pieces of rubbish that added up to a massive 25kg!
Full bellies make for clean beaches
So as not to create any more waste in our travels to Kent, we opted for sandwiches at the local pub, The King Ethelbert Inn. Where they put on a wonderful spread to keep us going in the afternoon.
After lunch, we set out on the opposite side of the Reculver beach stretch. There was less rubbish to be found this side, but we still managed a further 6.7kg which included a mop head (of all things!). A bonus for our efforts was that we were lucky enough to find some shark teeth on our travels!
Overall we covered nearly 2 kilometers of beach and cleared 31.7kg of litter, helping to protect our seas and wildlife, and provide a cleaner beach for people to enjoy. It was a great day spent in the fresh air and sunshine, and we finished it off with some softball in the sun.
All in all, the first Community Action Day was a roaring success. In total, across The Panoply, 99 members of the team supported 13 community projects and donated over 408 hours – way to go!