Bristol, famous for its docks, has many waterways running through it. One of those waterways is the River Avon, which runs through the centre of the city, into the Bristol Channel, and eventually out into the ocean. This means that the plastic cups, straws or food containers that end up in the water, from a drunken night out, a rubbish bin spilling over or a simple act of carelessness, will eventually find their way to the ocean.
Once in the ocean, the plastic is at risk of being eaten by a sea bird, impaling a turtle or ending up in the stomach of a whale. Even if it breaks down, the smaller parts will remain in the water for hundreds of year. Little fish will eat the plastic whilst tucking into some tasty plankton, bigger fish will eat those littler fish and the plastic will make it’s way up the food chain and potentially into your fish supper. This is just one of the impacts of plastic in the ocean, it’s harming the wildlife, the eco system and the beautiful coastlines around the world at an alarming rate.
To try and help prevent this from happening, I set out with my friends from work, down to the river banks below the iconic Clifton Suspension Bridge and started collecting the rubbish left from the high tide. As we collected bags and bags of rubbish it just seemed like the job was endless, there was so much down there! But we had to remember that even this small action was helping. The rubbish we took away won’t be washed out to sea in the next high tide.
We were all shocked by the vast amount of plastic and all sorts of other crap along the river bank but after the evening light left us and we had a pint in hand, we felt really satisfied to have removed what we did.
Surfers against Sewage organise beach cleans up and down the country, including one in Bristol, I’d definitely recommend going along if you don’t want to organise one yourself.