The 120 or so hardy volunteers who turned out in all weathers last year to clean up local beaches achieved an amazing result:  a total of half a ton of litter picked up from several locations in West Wight.

Inspired by George Heming’s initiative to be responsible for picking up 100 tons of plastic from UK beaches, Yarmouth Sailing Club (YSC) members engaged in a series of beach cleans during 2019.

They cleared away litter from the West Wight beaches of Fort Victoria, Colwell, Hamstead, and Totland, as well as the banks of the River Yar and the railway track.

But rather than resting on their laurels after that gargantuan effort, YSC members kicked off 2020 with their latest campaign, at Fort Victoria, where they were supported by friends and several Scouts taking part in a community challenge.  The much-hyped Storm Brendan had stirred up the beach there, leaving behind piles of exposed rubbish  to be collected and cleared away.

The haul included small filaments of fishing net as well as the usual depressing collection of sweet wrappers, plastic bags and boxes, all mixed in with a huge plastic pallet, lumps of metal, glass and plastic bottles, bits of wire and lenths of rope, discarded clothing, a plastic barrel and even a fire bucket riddled with holes!

In all, 100 kilograms (220 lbs) of rubbish was cleared off Fort Vic’s beaches which was collected by Brighstone Landscaping to be taken to the tip.  More than 60% of what was found should be recyclable – but the volunteers are hoping that, next time, it will not end up back on the beach.

Further beach cleans are being planned throughout 2020, the next being at Colwell Bay on Saturday May 2nd, and YSC members say they are attempting to make a real difference to the marine environment that they enjoy and value so much