Keep Our Coast Clean: Sealife clear 97kg of litter from North Bay in one day

Connie and Max Ireland with Mum Hayley at work on North Bay. PIC: Richard Ponter
Connie and Max Ireland with Mum Hayley at work on North Bay. PIC: Richard Ponter

Last Saturday saw the team at Sealife Scarborough complete their latest beach clean, the fifth so far this year.

With the help of volunteers they collected 97kg of litter from North Bay, making up 43 bags of rubbish.

Charlie and Mum Kym Tatlor collecting litter. PIC: Richard Ponter

Charlie and Mum Kym Tatlor collecting litter. PIC: Richard Ponter

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One of the more unusual items found was a pair of men’s underpants in a rock pool.

James Cox, a member of the animal care team who coordinated the beach cleans said: “We have a duty to look after the environment, as litter coming from man has a terrible effect on wildlife if not disposed of correctly.

“Certain animals find bits of rubbish appealing as food, such as turtles thinking plastic bags are jellyfish.

The injured seal on Ravenscar beach treated by Sealife. PIC: Sealife Scarborough

The injured seal on Ravenscar beach treated by Sealife. PIC: Sealife Scarborough

“Plastics can end up being eaten by fish and subsequently ending up being ingested by ourselves when we tuck into our fish supper.”

Sealife Scarborough have been running beach cleans for many years on North Bay and their adopted beaches Jackson’s Bay and Burniston beach.

Since the success of the TV programme Blue Planet II, staff say they have seen an increase in awareness around marine litter but say that the amount of rubbish they’re finding has remained more or less the same.

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From left: Morgan, Dad Brett, Daisy, Scarlett, Mum Katie, Gabrielle and Bryan work hard. PIC: Richard Ponter

From left: Morgan, Dad Brett, Daisy, Scarlett, Mum Katie, Gabrielle and Bryan work hard. PIC: Richard Ponter

As well as smaller monthly events, the centre organises larger beach and sea cleans with the RSPCA.

The strangest item they have found was a full medical oxygen cylinder.

Sealife works regularly with the RSPCA on initiatives to conserve the beauty of Scarborough’s coastlines.

The staff see first hand the damage marine litter can do.

James added: “We’ve seen seals and other marine life regularly get caught up in fishing lines, ropes and nets.”

In 2017, staff from the animal care team were called to Ravenscar beach where an adult harbour seal had been spotted with a frisbee stuck around its neck (picture on page 1).

The plastic toy caused a deep cut to the seal’s neck and had to be carefully removed before the animal was released.