18 May 2023

Coastal Clean-up proves to be a Big Help Out!

Langstone Harbour (via Hayling Billy Trail) was given a deep blitz by a group of budding volunteers from local company, Lockheed Martin UK RMS, who were proud to have accomplished this in honour of the Big Help Out to celebrate His Majesty the King’s Coronation. And what a better time to have done so, with National Volunteers’ Week just around the corner (1st – 7th June). The company were keen to get involved in marine conservation and to combat issues around plastic pollution.

Globally around 14 million tons of plastic rubbish ends up in the ocean every year, and with the issue constantly being brought up in the media, we are all becoming aware of the need to play our part in reducing this.

Jagat Singh, Lead Volunteering Service Coordinator from Community First, arranged for Lockheed Martin UK to join forces with the magnificent Final Straw Foundation (FSF) to undertake the beach clean, picking up all sorts of items from car parts to old children’s toys, as well as the usual amount of plastic waste.

FSF, a registered charity based in Emsworth, aims to highlight the impact of plastic pollution on our environment and try to minimise the amount of plastic entering our local seas and wider oceans. Bianca Carr, Founder of the charity, said: “Please look for us on socials. I’m looking for more businesses to do group beach clean-ups!”

Emlyn Taylor, Group Managing Director from Lockheed Martin UK RMS, emphasised the team aspect of the session: “We live amongst the community that is here, we rely on the community supporting us and I’m massively proud the team wants to give something back. Now I’ve been able to meet the team face-to-face, some I had only seen on screen, so it’s great for relationship building!”

On the surface, the area around the Billy Trail and shoreline at first looked relatively clean, but the team from Lockheed Martin UK found a huge amount of litter that had been blown into the bushes and hedgerows that will have inevitably ended up in the sea at some point in the future! They also found a lot of time to have a treasure hunt for plastic ‘nurdles’, a type of marine debris originating from the plastic particles that are universally used to manufacture large-scale plastics.

Linda Adler from Lockheed Martin UK said: “Everyone looks for the crisp packets and bottles but there are loads of little amounts of plastic.”

Irena Marsh-Stastna, a Manpower contractor who works with the Lockheed Martin UK team, shared her reasons why volunteering is important: “As a community people need to do something for the environment and get together because who else is going to do it? It’s a nice thing to do to keep the environment clean and do it for the benefit of others and yourself!”

Danielle Gillard from Lockheed Martin UK shared her thoughts of the day: “I think volunteering is good, it gets you out and meeting new people that you may not actually work with in the business. Love being out in the scenery as well!”

Rachel Garvey, lead volunteer from Lockheed Martin UK, said: “Lockheed Martin is part of the local community, so it’s nice to give back. Also, our way of working has changed since lockdown; we’re not in the office as much as we were, so it’s also great to catch up and reconnect with colleagues.”

Simon Appleby from Lockheed Martin UK compared his experience to their last beach clean: “I’ve done a beach clean here before picking up bigger bits of trash, but it’s been interesting picking up smaller things. It makes a difference to the wildlife as well; we would have missed so much of the smaller stuff last time!”

By the end of the clean, Lockheed Martin UK and FSF could not have been prouder to have cleared so much litter and plastic, all whilst embracing the beautiful scenery, getting lots of fresh air and bonding as a team. Bianca from FSF shared the final result: “We removed 21kg of general waste. Plus 3 car tyres with the metal insert still attached, a large rug from a car garage and a moulded plastic fence holder. All of that weighed approx. 25kg, as stated by the removal team, so not bad for a few hours work. It’s important to remember that the weight is reflective of how much plastic was removed, and that the micro-plastics and nurdles pose a huge environmental risk and can cause significant harm to wildlife if ingested. So, it’s so important to remove that and a vast amount of the waste removed was smaller broken plastic fragments of larger plastic items that had broken down during their life and by being out on the beach”

A rare 1 metre-long, pregnant, European Adder was even found on the day by a couple of the volunteers, which was an exciting first for FSF, who have been clearing this site for many years!

Alberto Cuetara shared a final thought saying: “Really good and a surprising amount of rubbish when you look closer. I hope we’re making a difference!”

Interested in volunteering and seeking an opportunity for yourself, or as a group?

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