Volunteers muck in and clean up Exe Estuary

Posted on: 19 September 2017

Almost 150 volunteers gave up their Saturday morning to clean-up the Exe Estuary – and the good news is that the amount of discarded rubbish blighting the beauty spot is on the decrease.

The usual assortment of rubbish including lumps of concrete, car tyres and broken glass was found during the 20th clean-up of the internationally important Exmouth Local Nature Reserve over the weekend.

Recyclable plastic makes up over 60 per cent of everything found on beach cleans.

However this time volunteers only found enough rubbish to fill half a skip, less than during previous clean-ups.

Among the more interesting finds included a pair of clay smoking pipes, which could date back to the 18th or 19th Century.

The bi-annual clean-up is essential for maintaining the health and vitality of the estuary.

Volunteers at Exmouth, led by Exe Estuary Officer Stephanie Clark, helped clear some of the key recreational and wildlife areas.

McDonald’s and Krispies Fish & Chips provided free refreshments which were eaten by the hungry volunteers at the Railway Club and  Stuart Line Cruises laid on a free boat and entertainment provided by ACE Music.

The RSPB hired the tractor and driver and East Devon District Council provided the skip.

Exe Estuary Officer Stephanie Clark said:

“We are finding that every year there is a little less rubbish to clean up and that’s really good news. It indicates that there is an increasing awareness of the impact litter has on the environment and wildlife and that the message is getting through.
“Thank you to all the people, businesses and organisations who helped out. Your hard work really makes a difference.”

Before the clean-up the Exe Estuary Team was asked by a lady to keep an eye out for a dog lead and guide dog whistle.

Stephanie added: “I’m pleased to say we have found those items, so if she could contact me (on 01392 382236)  I would be delighted to return them to her.”

The Exe Estuary Management Partnership is working with the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) to survey and clean up the litter on the Exe, as part of the UK-wide Great British Beach Clean.

The partnership is helping to tackle litter at its source, including highlighting any particular branded items.

The information enables MCS to approach specific manufacturers and retailers to find ways to reduce the amount of rubbish from their products reaching our beaches.

According to the MCS the main sources of litter are the public, 36%, fishing, 9%, sewage related debris, 7%, and shipping, 3%.

Posted in: Community | Environment