Volunteers take part in massive tidy-up on beaches

The beach clean-up. Picture by Tom Bing
The beach clean-up. Picture by Tom Bing

A mountain of rubbish was collected as volunteers descended on beaches for a clean up over the weekend.

Harmful plastics which can kill marine life were removed, along with piles of household litter, discarded fishing tackle and bottles, crisp packets and drink cans.

The Big Spring Beach Clean was led by the maritime conservation charity Surfers Against Sewage (SAS). Well over 100 people donned gloves and armed with bin bags trawled the shoreline at Longsands beach, Tynemouth, and Fish Quay Sands, North Shields.

Prizes were dished out and volunteers received a big thank you from SAS organiser Andrew Riley.

Six people were needed to drag one huge tangle of rope up the sands, while more than 30 bin bags of rubbish were picked up at Tynemouth alone and left to be collected by North Tyneside Council.

Regular beach cleans led by SAS are one of the main reasons Tynemouth became the first place in the North East to be awarded Plastic Free Coastline status.

Many businesses have signed up by ditching single-use plastics such as cups, cutlery and packaging, in favour of green, biodegradable alternatives.

The campaign has the backing of Tynemouth MP Alan Campbell and local ward councillors and SAS leaders are urging more businesses to give support. People can visit a new Facebook page, Plastic Free Tynemouth.

Bars are being asked to ditch plastic straws and among the first to support the move are the Low Lights Tavern, North Shields, and Barca in Front Street, Tynemouth.

To join the campaign or organise a tidy up, email tynemouthsasplasticfree@gmail.com