What an amazing day it turned out to be!!
About a 100 volunteers came out on a cold, windy January morning to clean up the Brixham Breakwater, on land and in the sea. The Torbay Cleaner Coasts Initiative, a collaboration of local marine organisations, of which we are partners, had organised the clean up. Representatives from local environmental group ‘Tide’, Torquay zoo ‘Living Coasts’ and the MMO ran the litter pick.
The day started bright and early with us erecting the gazebo near the slipway. The divers had their briefing and we all prepared ourselves for a busy day. There were 10 divers in total, 6 of our regular divers and 4 new faces which was great (including 3 students from Exeter University) The plan was the divers would do a clean up inside the harbour, the sea was rough on the outer side but reasonable inside.
The local gig club were out in force in the harbour collecting litter. Soon more volunteers arrived, to do a litter pick of the Breakwater. We were all amazed at how many people turned up. There were queues of people in the gazebo signing in, lots of families with children. It’s always good to see the kids getting involved, learning about the environment. There was a great community spirit.
The divers went in and the litter pickers went off enthusiastically along the inside of the Breakwater, armed with a litter grabber and bin bag flapping in the wind! A considerable amount of rubbish had accumulated. Some of it was floating on the water but most of it was hidden in the big rocks so it took a lot of clambering about to get at it.
Bag after bag was filled and deposited in a big pile by the gazebo. Soon we ran out of bags and filled 2 dumpy bags as well. With the Breakwater being so long, only half of it was cleaned, everyone was amazed how much litter was being collected, it was endless!
The BBC had been invited and filmed the morning which was later shown on ‘Spotlight’ Our friend Warwick was the safety officer, circling the harbour in his boat, keeping an eye on the divers and all the litter pickers, as well as the 6 sleepy seals chilling on the pontoon wondering what all the fuss was about!
The divers said the visibility wasn’t good as there was so much sediment but they still collected an amazing 60kg + of assorted debris including a lot of fishing net, fishermen’s gloves, drinks cans and food wrappers. One of the divers found an old wallet complete with bus pass, bank cards etc. The TCCI are hoping to try and trace the owner. And one of the litter pickers found a message in a bottle on the rocks, complete with a love letter inside. It read it had come from Teignmouth a year ago. The BBC decided to track down the sender of the bottle as there was an address inside, which they did, but the sender didn’t want any further media attention.
Later we all went in the Breakwater Café for a much needed warm up and a late lunch and agreed it had been a fantastic day!