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Microplastic Incident

Unfortunately Fylde Coast beaches and marine life have faced a tough week, as a deluge of microplastics have washed in on recent tides. Numerous beaches between Fleetwood, Blackpool and Lytham have been affected by significant amounts of multi-coloured plastic fragments arriving with incoming tides.

Microplastics are small pieces of plastic, measuring less than 5mm. Unfortunately, we do witness microplastics frequently on beaches and within strandlines. However, the scale seen this week indicates there has been a particular incident, possibly originating at sea or on land. Unfortunately due to their size, it is extremely difficult to effectively remove these either by hand or using any mechanical equipment. As a result many wash back out on the next tide, so we anticipate witnessing the effects of this incident for some time to come.

However, the overwhelming positive in this situation has been the response of local people. LOVEmyBEACH requested reports of locations and dates, alongside photographs to be submitted to us on social media. We now have a very strong evidence base, detailing where and when the incident occurred alongside over 30 high quality evidence photos. This information will be invaluable in taking action once the source has been identified.

Numerous organisations have come together to collect and analyse samples, investigate possible sources and ensure such an incident does not happen again. These include Wyre Council, Wyre Rivers Trust, the Environment Agency, Marine Management Organisation, Lancaster University and United Utilities.

Once the investigations have progressed, we will share more information.

If you do spot any significant levels of microplastics please email photographs detailing the location and date taken to emily.parr@keepbritaintidy.org

Thank you to everyone who has shared reports so far.

We’re providing reusable period care kits for local women

To support local women struggling due to the Covid pandemic, LOVEmyBEACH will be providing reusable period care kits via the Fleetwood Together foodbank. 

Period poverty (a lack of access to sanitary products due to financial pressures) has increased by 6 times across the UK, during the Covid pandemic. 3 in 10 girls have reported being unable to access sanitary products during the pandemic too.

As some women struggle to afford essentials such as food, some consider period products a luxury. Reports show many have resorted to using inadequate alternatives including tissues, newspaper and socks. LOVEmyBEACH want to ensure local women do not need to risk infection and embarrassment, when a long term, sustainable solution is available.

Reusable period products, including reusable pads, period pants and menstrual cups, each last for many years instead of being a disposable, single use item. An average woman uses 11,000 period care products over her lifetime, but by switching to reusable she can save 90% of the cost involved.

Additionally, reusable products are much better for the environment as they generate no waste each month. Currently disposal of period products in the UK generates 200,000 tonnes of waste every year, with many disposable products containing significant levels of plastic.

LOVEmyBEACH launched the WOOP campaign (Wipe Out Ocean Plastic) in 2020, to raise awareness of the environmental impact of disposable period care products and wet wipes. When disposed of incorrectly and flushed down the toilet, these items can end up on our beaches, in the ocean and harming wildlife. 6% of beach litter found in the UK is sanitary items and in a single day 28,000 used tampons and applicators were found worldwide on beach cleans.

Emily Parr, Fylde Beach Care Officer said, “The WOOP campaign was previously focused on raising awareness of these issues and encouraging behaviour change. However, LOVEmyBEACH decided we wanted to do something to directly help during the pandemic. At a time when many people are struggling to afford essential items, let alone switch to more expensive reusable products, we realised the WOOP campaign could have a far greater impact.”

Periods do not stop in a pandemic. Despite deepening financial hardships, all women should have access to effective and adequate period care products. By providing reusable products which will last for many years, we hope this project will benefit local women and children long term, whilst helping the environment and our beaches too”.

The funding for this project has been awarded by the Wyre and Fylde Covid Response Fund. Initially 100 women will receive a reusable period product kit, containing 4-5 reusable sanitary pads, information and a sewing template for them to make more for themselves and family members. If successful, we hope to secure further funding to roll the project out to reach more Fylde Coast women.

If any local businesses want to support the project or provide donations, please contact emily.parr@keepbritaintidy.org

10 Tips for a Plastic-Free Christmas!

Christmas can be a time of excess – including plastic! Whether it’s toys, wrapping paper or food containers, plastic is everywhere at this time of year!

Protect your ocean, beach and wildlife by have a plastic-free Christmas. Here are a few tips on how to do it:

1. Wrapping paper

Most wrapping paper actually contains plastic and can’t be recycled. There are lots of alternatives on the market that don’t contain plastic, some even made from recycled paper. Or why not go for the classic brown paper look, with beautiful reusable bows and decorations?

You can find some ideas here.

You can also used once-loved fabrics and use shredded paper instead of bubble wrap and polystyrene!

2. Green Christmas Trees

Everyone loves Christmas trees, they are a central an important part of feeling really Christmassy at home! Choose an eco option to make sure your special tree doesn’t harm the planet!

Fake trees can be reused for years, but are mostly made of plastic and will likely end up in landfill.

Real trees are better, but millions of people wanting Christmas trees means millions of trees cut down, which isn’t very sustainable. A better alternative is to buy a pot grown, living tree, which you can keep in the garden for the rest of the year and bring in every Christmas. You can even rent Christmas trees, meaning that you can send your tree back to be cared for for the rest of the year and no trees have to die!

3. Eco Christmas Crackers

Christmas crackers often come with a lot of plastic, most of which ends up in the bin, or worse still, our oceans!

You can still enjoy crackers round the table on Christmas Day, but why not opt for more sustainable options, like reusable crackers or those made from recycled materials? Or why not try making your own?

4. Edible Christmas Decorations

Why not cut down on the amount of plastic in your home by making decorations you can eat?! It’s a win-win! Make gingerbread men or cookies and hang them on your tree! If you don’t have time to make your own, look out for wooden decorations that make a beautiful addition to your tree.

5. Plastic-free gifts

Give gifts for your loved ones and the planet by opting for plastic-free options. Kids’ toys tend to be made from plastic, but you can make a difference by buying wooden alternatives, which are beautiful and can last a lifetime.

There are now lots of plastic-free shops online where you can buy lots of lovely and sustainable gifts for the special people in your life, so why not take a look?! Another great idea is to give experiences rather than gifts, like a spa day or a concert ticket. Even better, make your own gifts for a lovely personal touch!

6. Plastic-Free Christmas Dinner

When shopping for your Christmas feast, try and opt for plastic-free food! Many supermarkets are now offering plastic-free fruit and veg, or a great way to avoid plastic and support your community is to head down to your local market.

Making your own treats like mince pies, cakes, gingerbread, Christmas puddings and cookies is a great way to avoid plastic and also lots of fun for the family. And making easy dips means that you’ll avoid having lots of plastic pots at the end of Christmas.

7. Plastic-Free Shopping

Don’t forget to take your reusable tote bags out with you when you’re doing your Christmas shopping! It’s easy to come home with lots of big plastic bags full of goodies, but these can end up in our oceans and harm our wildlife.

8. Plastic-Free Tipples

Many people love a tipple at Christmas, it is a time for celebrating after all! Just make sure you don’t use plastic straws or stirrers! There are lots of alternatives out there, including paper and metal straws!

9. Plastic-free parties

Avoid throwing away lots of party ware by choosing paper plates and cups, and wooden cutlery! Or even better, reusable options and ‘real’ plates and cutlery!

10. Take Part in a Local Beach Clean!

A great way to protect your beaches, oceans and wildlife, is to help keep them clean! What better way to make a difference and burn off some Christmas pudding, than taking part in a local beach clean? There are lots going on up and down the coast, so check out our volunteering pages to find a beach clean near you!