Staff at a veterinary practice will swap their stethoscopes for litter pickers as part of a massive beach clean-up.
A total of 20 volunteers from Westway Veterinary Group, which has 21 surgeries across the region including in Claremont Road in Whitley Bay, will clean a one-mile stretch of coastline from St Mary’s Lighthouse to Whitley Bay.
As well as doing their bit for the community, they want to highlight the dangers rubbish can cause to wildlife and dogs being walked on the beach.
The vets, veterinary nurses and receptionists will join forces with members of Surfers Against Sewage to take part in the clean-up on Sunday, from 11am.
Plastic, discarded fish hooks and broken bottles are among the hazards that can seriously injure or even kill wildlife and pets.
Westway vet Mandy Hood, who is based at the main 24-hour hospital in West Road, Newcastle, said: “As vets and nurses we want to help the environment and keep it safe for dogs that are regularly walked on that stretch of beach.
“We often have dogs and wildlife brought in after suffering injuries from debris on beaches in the area.
“This is a great opportunity to highlight this problem and encourage people to take home their rubbish and not drop it on our beautiful beaches.
“It will be very cold at this time of year, but we hope if the clean-up operation is successful, we will repeat it during the year and encourage others to do the same.”
Linda Lambert, North Shields Fish Quay regional representative for Surfers Against Sewage, organises corporate beach cleans for north east companies.
She noticed the state of the region’s beaches when she started walking along them after adopting a rescue dog from Westway Vets.
Linda said: “It’s a brilliant gesture by the team at Westway Vets and it should take us about two hours to clean the stretch of beach. A lot of companies are environmentally aware and it is a fun team-building exercise.
“Surfers Against Sewage removed 63 tons of marine plastic pollution from 575 beaches last year so this is a big issue.”