Rubbish Roundup 11th November
Hundreds of thousands of tonnes of lost, abandoned, or discarded fishing litter blight the world’s oceans and trap and injure turtles, seabirds, whales, and fish.
A team from Australia’s national science research agency looked at 68 studies from 32 countries to try and assess the scale of the problem. The team found that thousands of tonnes of nets, traps, and lines are lost in the ocean each year, and that the most common causes of loss were poor weather conditions, gear getting caught on the seabed, and equipment getting tangled up.
Abandoned fishing gear accounts for a lot of the plastic waste in the world’s oceans, including at least 46% of the plastic waste in the so-called Great Pacific Garbage Patch.
A spokesperson from the agency said that plastic fishing gear takes hundreds of years to break down, and when it finally does, it breaks down into tiny microplastics that get eaten by marine animals and end up in the food chain.
The next step for the researchers is to interview fisherman from around the world to find out how much gear they lose and why, and to come up with ways to prevent this from happening. What they find out will help inform a global prevention plan.
A spokesperson from WWF-UK said that fishing is the human activity that has the biggest impact on the health of our oceans. She added that more must be done to reduce the loss or abandonment of fishing gear in oceans for the sake of marine life.
The streets of Henley were left blighted by rubbish after public litter bins weren’t emptied over the weekend. Bins in the town centre were so full that by Monday lunchtime, they were overflowing and waste was strewn over the streets.
There were coffee cups, drinks cans, and takeaway boxes sticking out of bins or placed on top of them, and cigarette butts and chewing gum on the pavements. To make matters worse, there were bags of household waste dumped beside bins and at the end of streets.
The council’s waste contractor Biffa has apologised, and blamed the problem on staff illness.
The town’s deputy mayor was left less than impressed. He said he had been out at 7am on Monday and every bin he saw was overflowing with rubbish. He added that services shouldn’t come to a grinding halt because someone is ill and that someone else should have been drafted in to do the work.
Biffa said in a statement that it was sorry for any inconvenience that was caused to residents. It went on to say that crews have worked hard to clear up the situation and that it has now been resolved.
215 litter pickers in Hitchin cleared the town’s parks, paths, and verges of rubbish in a bid to wage war on waste.
Community groups Clean Up Hitchin, Less Waste Hitchin, and Hitchin Forum led the effort, and they were joined by volunteers of all ages, including local councillors and youth groups.
The big litter pick was also the first clean up attended by the Hitchin 'plogging' group, a bunch of hardy souls who combine litter-picking with jogging.
A huge 105 bags of litter were collected, and 59 of these were chock full of recyclables.
A local group of girl guides joined in and cleaned up a patch of land they had previously adopted. They filled 25 black rubbish bags, 20 recycling bags, and seven rubble sacks full of glass, and found a Christmas tree, two chairs, and a full size lamppost among their haul!
The plogging group tweeted that its top finds were a lampshade and an angler’s annual from 1987. It takes all sorts, we suppose! The group’s founder added that it believes that the runners of Hitchin will embrace plogging and help it grow into a movement that will make a big difference to the countryside.
Hitchin Forum and Clean Up Hitchin have joined forces since 2012 to organise several popular clean-up days in the town.
If you live in the Hitchin area and you’d like to brave the weather and take part in a clean up event, go to hitchinforum.org.uk for more information and details of the next event.