Few of us making New Year resolutions keep them until the end of January, never mind the end of the year. Pat Smith, 70, completed her 2018 New Year resolution on 31 December.
Pat lives in Cornwall and vowed to pick up beach litter one day a week on a different Cornwall beach each week, that’s 52 beach cleans. And she kept a diary, which makes fascinating reading, cornwalllive.com/news, as she recounts the amounts of litter collected. In the first week, it took only two hours to collect two black bags full. Week three with her five-year-old grandson, a plastic bag was filled in just half an hour, and each week brought new findings about litter.
She was joined, over time, by fellow anti-litterers, by volunteers from Beach Guardian and Surfers Against Sewage. One day, Wayne Dixon, Keep Britain Tidy’s first Litter Ambassador, joined her and talked to her about ‘catch points’, places where litter accumulates. These include short distances from schools or cafes.
Pat concludes that lazy people drop litter without thought to the damage caused to wildlife or how awful places look with accumulated litter. She collected abandoned dog poo bags thrown into hedgerows and found plastics lodged in clumps of seaweed, mostly microplastics, bottle tops, fishing net filament and straws.
Pat is not new to litter issues. Her litter picking New Year resolution came after her 2017 campaign in Cornwall to replace plastic straws with paper straws, Finalstrawcornwall.co.uk.
She writes ’More people need to get involved in witnessing the damage being done to our environment which maybe would result in them being more thoughtful about casual littering.’
Pat Smith is to be congratulated on achieving her New Year resolution as she appeals for all of us to resolve to bin litter.