This Bank Holiday keep Scarborough's beaches clean

Concerns are growing about how Scarborough's biggest attraction will look as the next Bank Holiday approaches.

Thursday, 24th May 2018, 4:41 pm
Updated Wednesday, 30th May 2018, 3:47 pm
Busy Scarborough seafront

This is what South Bay beach looked like after the scorching May Day Bank Holiday, with litter and plastic waste strewn across the sands.

Despite national media coverage on the damaging consequences plastics have on our oceans, it seems to have gone unnoticed among some beach-goers.

Picture by Maja Gobeli, a journalist from Switzerland.

And that’s not the only issue residents have raised about the state of the beach.

The harsh winter and powerful high tides have caused sand to be washed away from the beaches, leaving large areas of pebbles and gravel.

Scarborough Council says many coastlines have been affected by this and sand will return naturally in due course.

One resident, who asked to remain anonymous, said: “It has always been a delight to walk along South Bay and take the family to the beach to make sandcastles and enjoy playing in the sand.

Picture by Maja Gobeli, a journalist from Switzerland.

“While I accept the present state of the beach is due to exceptionally high tides, surely something can be done to restore the sand.

“This weekend is the start of the holiday season. Not only does the state of the beach create a dreadful impression of our beautiful town, what is a seaside resort without a glorious beach?”

But one thing the public does have the power to do is keep the beach clean.

Inflatable lilos, plastic bottles, crisp packets and even buckets and spades were left on the beach last Bank Holiday weekend, with much of it washed away into the sea.

Picture by Maja Gobeli, a journalist from Switzerland.

Steve Crawford, Scarborough’s representative for Surfer’s Against Sewage, said: “The Saturday evening, after the Tour de Yorkshire, it was pretty clean and I thought people are starting to pay attention.

“But the next two days were really bad – it was absolutely filthy.

“It was so busy, which was really nice to see, and with the Tour de Yorkshire it was a really good weekend, but this just tarnishes it.”

The Scarborough News has been campaigning to reduce single-use plastics and stop marine litter since the New Year.

But as families and tourists packed up their beach towels and picnic plates, some still chose to leave their rubbish behind.

Resident Kate Evans organises a beach clean in South Bay every night during the summer holidays.

The 53-year-old writer said: “I walked down on to the beach one evening and I just saw the scale of the mess that was left and I thought ‘this can’t happen – I need to do something’.

“This will be the third year that we’ve done it. We pick up a lot of plastic buckets and spades which are cheaply bought from the seafront and don’t make it through the day. They break and people just leave them on the beach.

“We pick up a lot of polystyrene trays that chips come in, sauce sachets, plastic bottles and even the odd nappy.”

Around 20 volunteers work on a rota with one or two heading down every evening.

She added: “It’s frustrating because in the morning the beach is clean and by the evening it really isn’t.

“In the past two years the amount of litter has been fairly consistent, some days you find more stuff than others it. Hopefully with the publicity damaging plastics have got, people will start to think twice.

“We shouldn’t have to do it, but it’s actually a very simple thing to do to really make a difference.”

Last month, almost 200 people headed down to Scarborough’s South Bay in the biggest beach clean turnout organiser Steve has seen to date.

He said: “These people who are still leaving their rubbish are a small percentage of people that don’t seem to be getting the message and find it OK to leave stuff.

“Why? It’s no hardship to pick things up, to be a little bit more considerate.

“The council is going to ‘plastic free’ as are parliament – it just seems to be a little hardened group that keep doing it.”

Scarborough Council carries out a beach clean on a morning, but anti-litter campaigners have asked why it can’t be done on an evening.

Steve said: “This is one of the big issues. I’ve asked about the possibility of doing it on an evening at around 7pm when people are leaving. It seems more efficient to me rather than in the morning when the damage is done.”

Kate has urged residents to organise their own beach cleans and if anyone wants to join her South Bay cleaning rota call her on 07748 163838.