DAWLISH Against Plastic’s latest monthly beach clean made sure that Teignbridge’s beaches continued to look their best, after raking in some 11kgs of waste in just a couple of hours. 

The beach clean event coincided with Keep Britain Tidy’s Great British Spring Clean, and saw 18 volunteers give their time to help keep local beaches free from polluting and dangerous rubbish, protecting both local people and wildlife. 

Among the 11 kgs of rubbish collected was broken glass, rusty pipes, fishing gear, the inevitable cigarette butts, and plastic packaging. 

One large item of commercial fishing gear washed up on the town beach, and had to be reported to Teignbridge District Council because it was partially buried and too heavy to move.

Although the beaches often look clean, plastic breaks down into ever smaller items, known as microplastics, which still present an even more serious threat. 

Chairperson Vanessa Ryley explained: ‘They are closer to the food chain and so are more likely to be ingested by sea creatures and ultimately by us.’ 

However, even the microplastics weren’t safe from the group, as the keen-eyed regular volunteers can spot a small piece of plastic from several metres away.

Rubbish collected is weighed and split into recyclable and non-recyclable bags before being deposited in Teignbridge District Council’s local depot. 

Since March 2019, when recording began, over 700kgs of harmful material has been removed from Teignbridge’s coastline. 

Vanessa Ryley added: ‘There has been some reduction, over the years, in the amount of polluting debris that we find on our local beaches. 

‘We believe that this is partly because we have been part of the movement to raise public awareness of the severely detrimental effects of plastic pollution, by inviting regular participation in our cleans and through our other activities.

‘We would like to thank all those who give their time to help on a Saturday, even when it is pouring with rain and blowing a gale. 

‘Thanks also to Teignbridge officers who have always been supportive of our efforts and BAM Nuttall workers who have joined us in a beach clean.’

Beach cleans are held every month on the first Saturday, at times to coincide with low tide. The next beach clean is on May 6 at 1pm. 

Dawlish Against Plastic also organises monthly litter picks around the town which are held on the last Saturday at 10am, from The Manor House.