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Marine Life & Conservation

Surfers Against Sewage launch ‘Million Mile Beach Clean’ – the UK’s biggest ever beach clean

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UK charity Surfers Against Sewage marked the launch of their ‘Million Mile Beach Clean’ with a 50-metre sand drawing of a seal surrounded by plastic on Cayton Bay in Yorkshire.

The striking image highlights the impacts of plastic pollution on marine wildlife, which the charity aims to tackle this year by inspiring 100,000 people to clean up their local beach, river, street or green space. The result will be one million miles cleared by the end of the year, protecting oceans, beaches and wildlife – and giving Brits a much-needed boost as we emerge from lockdown.

‘The Million Mile Beach Clean’ is part of a new environmental initiative, the Million Mile Clean, encouraging people to get out locally, on streets, country lanes, in parks and along local waterways to tackle plastic pollution and litter. The campaign aims to reconnect people with their local environment to help their physical and mental well-being. The lead partner for the campaign over the next three years is the Iceland Foods Charitable Foundation (IFCF), building on its previous support for nationwide beach cleans.

Whilst the initiative will run throughout 2021, the first week of action will take place between the 15th and 23rd of May. Surfers Against Sewage are calling for Clean Leaders across the UK to join the biggest beach clean ever and register to lead a clean during this period.

According to new research commissioned by Surfers Against Sewage, over half of Brits (54%) think COVID-19 has led to an increase in plastic pollution, with almost two-thirds (59%) seeing more waste in their area over the last 12 months. This increase could be down to the fact that a fifth (18%) of the population has bought more single-use plastic items as a result of the pandemic, with the same proportion opting to use disposable facemasks, rather than reusable ones.

The majority of people (74%) spot over 10 pieces of plastic or litter on an average walk. When extrapolated against the UK population, this could account for nearly 500 million pieces of litter and plastic pollution. Worryingly, 51% even say they see more plastic on UK beaches than wildlife, and 41% believe that UK beaches are more polluted than our European counterparts.

Hugo Tagholm, Chief Executive of Surfers Against Sewage, commented: “The ocean is under threat and we are running out of time to save it. We want to inspire an army of ocean activists to join the cause and put an end to plastic pollution in the UK. After more than a year of isolation, social distancing and reduced physical activity, the Million Mile Beach Clean reconnects communities with the environment and provides numerous benefits to mental health and physical well-being. Sign up and get involved today and together we can make a difference.”

‘The Million Mile Beach Clean’, created in direct response to the pandemic, will reconnect people with the ocean and their natural surroundings, whilst also restoring well-being as the UK emerges from winter and the pandemic. This will come as a relief to the 41% of Brits that feel their mental health has deteriorated as a result of lockdown, with half (52%) of the UK population claiming that being near water improves their well-being and mental health.

(c) Ian Lean

Dr Sabine Pahl, social psychologist at the University of Plymouth, stated:Our oceans are an integral part of our planet and our lives. Research shows that the coast and oceans have a positive impact on our health and well-being. Now more than ever it is crucial for people to reconnect with the outdoors and the Million Mile Beach Clean provides an opportunity for people to do something for their health whilst also creating a positive impact on the environment.”

Several notable organisations and individuals are supporting the campaign including the Outdoor Swimming Society, ex-professional surfer and mental health advocate Laura Crane, diver and biologist Gillian Burke and wildlife presenter Lizzie Daly.

Richard Walker, IFCF Trustee and Managing Director of Iceland Foods, added: “As a surfer, beach user and business leader, I believe it is imperative that we protect and restore our oceans as they are essential for all life on earth. The Million Mile Beach Clean is an opportunity to make a positive impact in reducing the impact of plastic pollution across the UK. I can’t wait to be a part of the biggest community clean up ever.”

Surfers Against Sewage are calling for people across the UK to join the campaign and commit to cleaning up their local beach or neighbourhood. To get involved visit their website here and track your beach cleans via their Strava Club community group. The initiative will last throughout the UN Decade of Ocean Science, delivering a million miles a year, ten million by 2030 and aligning with SAS’s ten-year ambition of ending plastic pollution on UK beaches by 2030.

Gillian Burke, wildlife presenter and biologist, said: “Making the connection between mental health and environment is key in mobilising communities in the right way and the Million Mile Beach Clean does just that. 100,000 volunteers, each cleaning their local beach or river or street or mountain – the impact speaks for itself. It’s ambitious, it’s physical, I’m in!”

For more information about Surfers Against Sewage visit their website by clicking here.

 

 

Nick and Caroline (Frogfish Photography) are a married couple of conservation driven underwater photo-journalists and authors. Both have honours degrees from Manchester University, in Environmental Biology and Biology respectively, with Nick being a Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society, a former high school science teacher with a DipEd in Teaching Studies. Caroline has an MSc in Animal Behaviour specializing in Caribbean Ecology. They are multiple award-winning photographers and along with 4 published books, feature regularly in the diving, wildlife and international press They are the Underwater Photography and Deputy Editors at Scubaverse and Dive Travel Adventures. Winners of the Caribbean Tourism Organization Photo-journalist of the Year for a feature on Shark Diving in The Bahamas, and they have been placed in every year they have entered. Nick and Caroline regularly use their free time to visit schools, both in the UK and on their travels, to discuss the important issues of marine conservation, sharks and plastic pollution. They are ambassadors for Sharks4Kids and founders of SeaStraw. They are Dive Ambassadors for The Islands of The Bahamas and are supported by Mares, Paralenz, Nauticam and Olympus. To find out more visit www.frogfishphotography.com

Marine Life & Conservation

Jeff chats to… Brendon Sing, Director of Shark Guardian (Watch Video)

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In this exclusive Zoom interview, Jeff Goodman, Scubaverse Editor-at-Large, chats to Brendon Sing, Director of Shark Guardian, a UK Charity working for shark and marine conservation worldwide.

Brendon Sing is from South Africa and has been diving and researching sharks for over 25 years. Whilst achieving the highest qualifications in the scuba diving industry, he has been leading participants on shark diving expeditions from Africa to Asia with a strong focus on conservation, education and research. Together with his wife Liz, Brendon created Shark Guardian as a UK Charity in 2013. His goal is to inspire everyone worldwide to protect sharks – our ocean guardians. Shark Guardian has four main operational arms including (1) Conservation activities and campaigns, (2) educational programs and developing materials, (3) Research through citizen science and (4) shark diving expeditions.

Find out more at www.sharkguardian.org.


Rather listen to a podcast? Listen to the audio HERE on the new Scubaverse podcast channel at Anchor FM.

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Marine Life & Conservation

Australia plans to create world’s next two big marine parks

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The Australian Government has announced plans to establish two new marine parks around Australia’s spectacular Christmas and Cocos (Keeling) Islands!

These will be the world’s next big marine parks, providing crucial protection to globally significant marine life in an area twice the size of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

Christmas Island and the Cocos (Keeling) Islands are uniquely Australian and globally significant – there’s nowhere like them on Earth.

Most famous for its annual red crab migration, Christmas Island is one of David Attenborough’s 10 natural wonders of the world. Its thriving rainforests, deserted beaches and fringing reef provide a haven for unique and rare seabirds, land crabs and marine life.

The Cocos (Keeling) Islands are Australia’s best-kept secret – our unspoiled tropical island paradise! Sitting at the top of an ancient sea mountain encircling a beautiful tropical lagoon, their azure waters are home to an incredible array of diverse marine life including tropical fish, corals, turtles, manta rays and dolphins.

Located thousands of kilometres north-west from Perth, in the vast Indian Ocean, there are few comparable unspoiled tropical island environments left in the world.

Creating world-class marine parks will provide crucial protection for a wealth of marine life, make a significant global contribution to the health of our oceans, and bring much-needed benefits to the people of Christmas and Cocos (Keeling) Islands.

It’s essential that the government embraces and respects the aspirations of the island communities, working collaboratively with them to co-design these marine parks. Healthy oceans and sustainable fishing are central to the local communities’ way of life, their culture and their livelihoods.

Help Save Our Marine Life Australia grow the movement to support these new marine parks for Christmas and Cocos – Australia’s Indian Ocean Territories – by spreading the word on Facebook.

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Explore the amazing triangle of Red Sea Reefs - The Brothers, Daedalus and Elphinstone on board the brand new liveaboard Big Blue.  With an option to add on a week at Roots Red Sea before or after. 

Strong currents and deep blue water are the catalysts that bring the pelagic species flocking to these reefs. The reefs themselves provide exquisite homes for a multitude of marine life.  The wafting soft corals are adorned with thousands of colourful fish. The gorgonian fans and hard corals provide magnificent back drops, all being patrolled by the reef’s predatory species.

£1475 per person based on double occupancy.  Soft all inclusive board basis, buffet meals with snacks, tea and coffee always available.  Add a week on at Roots Red Sea Resort before or after the liveaboard for just £725pp.  Flights and transfers are included.  See our brochure linked above for the full itinerary.

This trip will be hosted by The Scuba Place.  Come Dive with Us!

Call 020 3515 9955 or email john@thescubaplace.co.uk

www.thescubaplace.co.uk

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