Great Scilly Spring Clean Smashes it!

Friday 16th March 2018

Each year the Isles of Scilly Wildlife Trust coordinates and mobilises individuals, businesses and organisations across the Islands to carry out the Great Scilly Spring Clean Beach Cleans; taking place over the first weekend in March, coinciding with the Keep Britain Tidy Great British Spring Clean campaign.

Marine Debris Collected at Watermill Cove ~ Pic: Liz StevensonThis year was no different, excepting the fact it all actually happened over the one weekend as intended! (In previous years it has taken up to three or four weeks for scheduled beach cleans to take place due to adverse weather conditions, wind and tides.)

Over the course of the weekend, of the 3rd & 4th March, there were a total of TWELVE organised beach cleans scheduled on St Mary’s with whole Island cleans taking place on St Martin’s, Tresco, Bryher & St Agnes.

By the end of the weekend an additional FOUR beach cleans had been carried out on St Mary’s as well as cleans taking place on White Island and Gugh, by groups and individuals who also wanted to do their bit.

Bringing the totals up to SIXTEEN Beaches (on St Mary’s) and SIX ISLANDS.

The Blue Planet Effect?

Sir David Attenborough talks ocean plastics in Blue Planet II ~ BBCThis year was bigger and better (depending on how you look at it?) again than previous years, with more Islands being cleaned, more bags of rubbish being collected, more bottles being counted and more people turning to and helping out.

Whether it’s as a result of Blue Planet II or something different we don’t know but it can only be a good thing that more people are taking this sort of event so seriously!

We had a total of THREE HUNDRED AND FIFTY NINE people attending beach cleans across seven Islands (this includes individuals who attended multiple cleans) and between them they collected THREE HUNDRED AND THIRTY SEVEN bags of marine debris and some additional larger items; TWO THOUSAND ONE HUNDRED AND SEVENTY NINE plastic bottles were also collected and recorded, on the Marine Conservation Society #WildBottleSighting Map, including a message in a bottle!

All this came to a massive TWO THOUSAND FIVE HUNDRED AND TEN KGS (yes you read that right…that’s just over TWO & A HALF TONNES!!) to put that into perspective last year we collected and removed 1998kgs of marine debris throughout the whole year!!

For anyone interested the breakdown by Island was as follows:

  • St Mary’s – 810kg 
  • St Agnes & Gugh - 220kg
  • Bryher – 930kg
  • Tresco – 250kg
  • St Martin’s & White Island – 300kg

TOTAL = 2510kg

(not that Islanders are competitive, or there's any inter-island competition, but well done Bryher you won!)

Scilly is working its way towards Plastic Free Coastline Status and beyond and this Community Event more than ticks off Objective 4: On The Ground Action, needed to achieve that accolade.

What now?!

It doesn’t just end there! Throughout the year a number of beach clean events will be arranged on both the inhabited and uninhabited Islands; make sure you keep your eyes peeled for information regarding these and come along and join us!

If you are unable to join in an organised event why not just do a quick #2MinuteBeachClean – look out for the boards across the Islands to find out more information.

The Isles of Scilly Wildlife Trust Team are also working with local artists and students from Five Islands School, raising awareness and creating thought provoking artwork across the Islands. Highlighting the issue of single-use plastics and the effects it has on our small Island community, our marine environment and the wildlife we all love. Maritime Flowers may be popping up in an area near you!

To find out more about this, Plastic Free Scilly and all the other fantastic work being carried out across the Islands be sure to follow us on FaceBook, Twitter & Instagram and pop along to one, or more, of our events while you are on the Islands!

If you would like to ensure that events like this can continue on the Islands please take five minutes to head on over to our Love the Sea | Love Scilly Crowdfunding Page and make a pledge!

There is now less than a week remaining and we are a long way from our target.

Thank yous:

The Isles of Scilly Wildlife Trust would like to take this opportunity to thank:

  • All of the Beach Clean Leaders for their commitment once again to this cause (Pam Manning - WI; Paula Wilkins – Isles of Scilly Child Minders; David Jackson - Islands' Partnership; Julian Pearce & Craig Dryden - Council of the IOS; Smart Islands Team – St Mary’s; Dale Clark - Harbour Team; Amanda Pender of Island Fish - Bryher; Emma Bagnall-Oakeley - Tresco Island; Anna Cawthray & St Martin's Island Group – St Martin’s; Emma Eberlein - St Agnes; Rob Carrier, Rhianna Pearce, Toby Needs & Darren Hart - IOS Wildlife Trust);
  • The Council of the Isles of Scilly Waste Collection Team (organised by Russ Thompson) for collecting and disposing of all of the Marine Debris collected from across the Islands;
  • The cafes, pubs and individuals who opened up their businesses and homes for refreshments to the windswept beach cleaners (The Wheelhouse - St Mary's; Glandore Gallery - St Mary's; Coastal View Café – St Mary’s; Hell Bay Hotel - Bryher; New Inn - Tresco; Sevenstones - St Martin's and Coastguards Cafe - St Agnes)
  • Everyone who turned out in support of all of the cleans; all 359 of you!