On September 21st 2019 some 17 million plus people in over 157 countries cleaned their street, wood or beach. With just one purpose, make the world a better place to live in and get thrashed other leave on the streets of it. For us that meant getting on the ferry to Schiermonnikoog, the place where the birth of our foundation came about. The ferry takes about 45 minutes and when you get to the island it always seems your vacation. The hectics from the mainland no longer exist.
We met the 3 groups that were to join at the rally point. In total there 27 people, which doesn’t like a lot, but they were a great bunch and very enthusiastic about it, som of them even helped out during the cleanup of MSC Zoe trash last February. Of to the beach we went with one group and the second worked its way from the small town back to the beach. Since the days before there had been very high tides and strong North Western wind I knew that there would be a lot of trash on the westside of the island. So my group and I set out. It was warm for a September day, 27c.
At first we found little scraps of old plastic bags, some balloons. But as we went further west the pieces of trash got bigger and bags got heavier. There were at least two pieces of litter on every square meter. The area we covered was bout 4km which took us about 3 hrs to clean. Zig zagging over the beach, from the dunes to the floodline, finding trash everywhere. Plastic bottles, balloon and their strings and fishing gear, lots of fishing gear. Since we didn’t have support by means of a cart of small truck so we had to carry, our quickly filling bags along the way.
Meanwhile the second group picked up litter from the man street leading towards the beach. They collected loads of cigarette butts, lollypop sticks, small plastic wrappers from cookies and various other small plastic litter which people tossed or lost.
The cleanup took about 3hrs in total we ended up collecting about 40 to 60 kg of trash. Mostly we found fishing gear. That stuff washes up all over the place. Amazing to see that the fishery just keeps on loosing. One of the things that is most upsetting is that there are still so many raw plastics in the dunes and on the beach. Thousands if not millions of the little raw plastic pallets, often referred to as nurdles, which will become an ecological disaster of the coming years. These are still washing up from the MSC Zoe container disaster beginning of the year. As are shoes, cars parts, piece of tv sets, radios and much more. Trash from that will continue to wash up over the next 50 to 150 years, about 800 tonnes of trash is still covering the sea bed, and maybe long after that.
What we took of the beach won’t be going back in and that was what is was all about. Making the beach, streets and town of Schiermonnikoog a bit more clean. As did all the other millions of volunteers all over the planet who cleaned their street, beach, park, town of city.
The pallets are circled. The beach and dunes are covered by them.