Five-hour tidy-up collects more than 300kg of waste

The participants at the clean-up at Hauxley.
The participants at the clean-up at Hauxley.
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Three organisations teamed up recently to clean up one of north Northumberland’s beauty spots.

Steve Lowe and Aurelie Bohan, from Northumberland Wildlife Trust’s conservation team, welcomed volunteers from the Environment Agency and the Northumberland Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority (NIFCA) to the wildlife charity’s Hauxley nature reserve for a huge clean-up at the site’s picturesque beach.

In five hours, hundreds of plastic bottles, cotton buds, a bike, a DVD player, more than 100 balloons and spent ammunition from the Second World War were just some of the items collected, which equated to a whopping 122 bin bags.

With each bag weighing an average 2.5kg,it gives a grand total of 305kg of waste, plus a massive amount of scrap metal.

Steve Lowe, head of conservation at Northumberland Wildlife Trust and a seasoned litter collector at Whitley Bay, said: “It’s frustrating just how much rubbish washes up on our lovely beaches.

“Balloons in particular are a nightmare, wrapping around weed and getting ingested by marine animals. Most people don’t think twice about releasing them, yet they persist for decades as litter.

“Another menace is dog waste neatly collected in plastic bags then left on the shore.

“The most frequently found item was plastic, which is accumulating at an alarming rate in our oceans, wreaking havoc on wildlife, polluting our beaches and entering our food chain. For instance, recent studies of the stomach contents of fulmars found dead on local beaches showed an average of 75 per cent of their stomach was plastic of all sorts from fishing line to sweet wrappers.

“I would urge everybody to take some responsibility – think before you flush non-organic wastes down the loo, dispose of your litter correctly, recycle and reuse wherever possible. Northumberland Wildlife Trust is challenging everyone who visits the coast to take five minutes to collect and remove anything they find, as every little helps.”