Volunteers clean up storm hit beaches

Terry Liddiard is a regular with Beach Buddies

Terry Liddiard is a regular with Beach Buddies

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Volunteers have transformed two of the island’s beaches which were badly affected by the storms earlier this year, with a record-breaking number of bags of rubbish removed from the Point of Ayre and Fisher’s Hill.

A total of 70 different volunteers for Beach Buddies gathered thousands of items from the two areas – mostly plastic bottles, ropes, fishing gear and lobster pots.

‘These two areas were a real eyesore, but we have left them spotless,’ said Beach Buddies organiser Bill Dale. ‘Our volunteers this last two weekends have been absolutely fantastic. There is currently a tremendous public spirit behind beach cleaning, and the results of their efforts are clear to see.

‘Anyone who drives down Fisher’s Hill and along the coast towards Port St Mary cannot fail to see the difference and how much better this area now looks. It was a wonderful team effort and I cannot speak highly enough of all the volunteers. Absolutely brilliant.’

A total of 24 volunteers, including a number of new faces, tackled the north eastern section of the Point of Ayre on Saturday, collecting 49 bags of rubbish, much of it plastic bottles and huge quantities of polystyrene.

On Sunday morning, a group of 45 volunteers - mostly residents from the south - arrived at the bottom of Fisher’s Hill to remove the huge amounts of debris which had gathered following the February storms. A total of 72 bags of rubbish were collected, together with an equal volume of plastic barrels, and large amounts of ropes and fishing equipment.

Sunday’s session was the biggest ever turn-out of volunteers for Beach Buddies, including many new faces taking part for the first time. It was also a record-breaking day, with more bags collected in one session than in the seven and a half years since Beach Buddies was founded in 2006.

One volunteer – David Leiserach – also collected rubbish in a personal blitz on Fleshwick, removing nine bags of debris, plus numerous items of fishing gear.

Compared to the first two months of 2013, this year’s beach cleaning sessions have resulted in more than twice the amount of rubbish being collected, with 50 per cent more volunteers getting involved. Just over half way through the month, the figures for March are already double the amount of 2013.

Beach cleaning sessions organised by Beach Buddies have been doubled in the past few weeks, to tackle the extraordinary amounts of rubbish which have been witnessed due to the recent storms. Volunteers have the choice of attending sessions in the south or north, on Saturday or Sunday mornings.

‘Many new volunteers have become involved during 2104 - a statistic warmly welcomed by Beach Buddies. ‘Anyone can get involved, no matter what age, even if it’s just to collect a small bag of rubbish on their own when walking the dog on the beach,’ added Mr Dale. ‘Every single piece of rubbish collected makes a difference to the environment and protects wildlife, right down to the smallest piece of plastic.’

l To get involved in beach cleaning with Beach Buddies, join the Facebook group Beach Buddies Isle of Man, or register for news and updates by email on beachbuddies@manx.net

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