Never let it be said that at Team Acala don’t practise what we preach.  Our editor Kirsty and her family spent a lovely afternoon at Coverack Beach in Cornwall.  collecting plastic, learning more about how and why we can all get on board the plastic-free mission.


We saw the advert for an afternoon community litter pick over half term.  Coverack and most of south Cornwall is one of our favourite places and we thought it would be nice to join the Sea Life Sanctuary in organising the event.

One of the nice things was seeing how busy it was; over twenty families turned up, and apparently this goes on twice a month.

What wasn’t so good was despite this, how much plastic we found.  In just over an hour, my son Michael, daughter Evelyn and I managed to collect over 2.5kgs of plastic waste.

coverack 2

This included pots, wrappers, tourist waste, cables and wires, a whole milk bottle and many more pieces of waste. 

Each family had about the same.  That means that in just one afternoon, up to 50kgs of waste were picked up.  Each tide drops the same.  Every. Single Day.  On ONE beach.

Coverack is a slightly extreme example.  In 2017 flash flooding hit the village, tearing through 50 homes, and ripping the roads up.  Despite four years passing, there are still residual waste pockets that come up, but it’s by no means unique.

How Big is the Problem of Plastic on Britain’s Beaches?

A study in late 2020 found as many as 5,000 different types of­ plastic waste across our beaches.  Some of this is litter; ditched at a beach or wasted, but much of it floods into the sea from waste-filled rivers throughout the country.

This isn’t just a problem because it’s unsightly, it has an awful impact on our marine wildlife.  Microplastics get into the food chain, causing hormonal changes, infertility and illness across fish and marine creatures.

It also creates a kind of ‘film’ across the beach and sea, raising the beach temperature and causing damage to the local biology and also the environment as a whole.

"When you have plastic piling up and piling up, it creates this insulation layer – it rapidly raises the temperature to a point where it is likely unsuitable for most animals,"

Dr. Jennifer Lavers from the University of Tasmania's Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies (IMAS), who led the new study, told The Guardian.

How Can You Get Involved?

We loved our time collecting rubbish – we wore thick gloves, took litter pickers and you’d be surprised at how much of a sense of reward you’ll get digging out a thoroughly stuck piece of rubbish.


plastic waste


We would urge anyone near beaches or big areas of water, whether they live there, or like us are tourists, to do the same.  You don’t need anything special, just take some bags with you and whilst you’re out for a stroll, start to pick up bits of what you can. Remember to recycle as much as possible.

Surfers Against Sewage has launched what it says will be the UK’s biggest ever beach clean, as part of efforts to tackle the threat of plastic pollution to marine wildlife.

The charity hopes to inspire 100,000 people to clean up their local beach, river, street or green spaces, to clear a million miles by the end of 2021, as part of a new “million-mile clean” ­environmental campaign.

surfers against sewage


It’s too late for this year, but every September, The Marine Conservation Society hold a Big Beach Clean and they’ve some fantastic resources all year round for families and young people.

The website is championing a million miles cleaned and has an initiative to help bring clean communities together.

Alongside that Bywaters also run regular events across the coastline.   

If you’re closer to a river there are lots of ways you can help and make a huge difference.  London Dwellers can join Thames21 to keep the Thames River beds clean.   River Clean Up has nationwide initiatives, but please be careful around fast-moving water and always pay attention to safety, especially if children and young people are involved.


Interested in other ways to help our seas and oceans? Read our World Oceans Day guide here 

And of course shop plastic free wherever possible. You can start your plastic free skincare and zero waste makeup regime here at Acala.

Older Post Newer Post