No stone unturned: Harvey John’s big beach clean-up

Brighton Beach is world-famous, and as a company, we’re very lucky to be located so close to the iconic pebbled seafront. That’s why as part of celebrating our financial year-end, our energetic team decided to get out there and show the well-used beach some love. 

We were inspired by David Attenborough’s Blue Planet II conservation rallying cry. The BBC TV series showed the shocking extent of plastic pollution in the world’s oceans, and Sir David made us all realise that it’s time to take responsibility for our actions.

A different kind of teamwork 

“This volunteering activity proved to be a great way to spend time away from our desks, doing something useful for the local community and for the environment,” said David Waddell, Managing Director at Harvey John. “There was agreement across the business to spend a morning on a beach clean. The impact of plastic and litter on the ocean environment is very concerning and we wanted to do our bit. And if it helps make our wonderful city a little bit cleaner, then it’s a double success.”

The team spent a sunny morning on 5th July on Brighton Beach picking up litter. We used long-armed grabbers provided by the Seafront Office. The incredible range of items collected included beer bottle tops (lots of beer bottle tops!), cigarette filters, champagne wire cork cages, broken bottles, food wrappers, metal laughing gas canisters, screws, hair bands, Lego and, oh, so many pieces of plastic. In fact, between us, we collected 9 bin bags of rubbish in the space of four hours, having progressed from our starting point at the British Airways i360 to the zip wire past Brighton Pier.

The feel-good factor

While the beach didn’t look too bad from a distance, on closer inspection, there was litter everywhere. In this sense, it felt good to work hard, and physically take away so much rubbish. The team agreed that the work became therapeutic, and once started, it was hard to stop. Who knew that picking up litter can be so strangely addictive? It was great meeting other teams out on the beach, sharing a common purpose, and seeing like-minded groups doing their bit.

Volunteering is something we’re committed to at Harvey John. We’re always on the lookout for the next opportunity to turn our hands to something different. It’s important to try new things, and learn about our local environment. It helps to take a break from the phones and PCs for a while too. The team certainly felt refreshed and inspired after our time on the beach. We’re also delighted that our efforts improved the beach just in time for this year’s Paddle Round the Pier.

Did you know?
  • Plastic pollution can now be found on every beach in the world. From the busy tourist beaches to uninhabited, tropical islands nowhere is safe.
  • Approximately 5,000 items of marine plastic pollution have been found per mile of beach in the UK.
  • Over 150 plastic bottles litter each mile of UK beaches.
  • Recent studies have revealed marine plastic pollution in 100% of marine turtles, 59% of whales, 36% of seals and 40% of seabird species examined.
  • 100,000 marine mammals and turtles and 1 million seabirds are killed by marine plastic pollution annually.

Source: Surfers Against Sewerage

David Waddell is the Managing Director at Harvey John

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