It’ that time of year again when the sun is starting to shine and it’s a perfect excuse for a trip to the beach. A beach day out is usually top of the list in the summer and thousands descend to our coast to enjoy some sun sea and sand. However what you don’t expect is to be side stepping the broken glass, empty cans and fishing wire, which are unfortunately now commonplace on our beaches.
The Environment Agency have revealed this year that the UK has some of the dirtiest beaches in the world and that litter on British beaches has increased by 50% in the last 14 years.
These shocking statistics simply add to the problems faced by many marine animals, especially the porpoise.
Porpoises can be found almost everywhere around the British coast however their numbers are in decline and the porpoise faces an uncertain future.
Porpoises not only face threats from other marine animals in the competition for food, they are also threatened by boating activities, over fishing and pollution.
Volunteer Hannah Taylor is a student studying Art at Cardiff’s Metropolitan University. Hannah was inspired by the recent articles about the pollution on UK beaches and decided to raise awareness by doing what she loves best – art! Hannah was extremely interested in volunteering for the Sea Watch Foundation and wanted to help raise awareness of the charity which she feels really strongly about.
After studying the dimensions and the shape of a porpoise, and with the help of Sea Watch Foundation Regional Co-ordinator Angharad Carrington-Edmunds, Hannah constructed a wire sculpture creating the outline of the mammal.
Hannah and Angharad carried out numerous beach cleans on local beaches in Cardiff, Ogmore and Swansea. It did not take long to find enough litter to fill the porpoise – who was later named Percy!
Once completed they both took Percy on tour to raise awareness of the plight of the porpoise and happily informed passers-by why she had created the sculpture in the hope of encouraging others to ensure they do not leave litter around beaches.
According to Conserve Energy Future one hundred thousand sea mammals are killed each year by the litter in our seas. This staggering statistic could mean that the we see a sharp decline in the amounts of porpoises that visit our seas.
Let’s hope that Hannah’s plight on behalf of Percy and friends may begin to prove a point and ensure that statistics don’t rise! You can also help volunteer like Hannah and arrange a beach clean of your own, or just simply…make sure you leave nothing but footprints on the beach!
Written By Angharad Carrington-Edmunds
For more information on marine debris issues check out Plastic: It’s Not Fantastic