Sub watch turns to beach watch

Trainee aircrew from Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose spent their weekend taking part in the annual "Beachwatch" survey at their neighbouring Hendra Beach near Porthleven, Cornwall.

On Saturday, 13 trainee aviators from 824 Naval Air Squadron took time off from learning how to hunt submarines, and instead hunted their local beach for litter and waste.  

They joined 14 locals and members of the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) who have been running the “Beachwatch” campaign on Hendra beach for the last 16 years.

"It's all part of an ongoing survey" says Sub-Lieutenant Luke Wraith (aged 24 from York), a pilot trainee on the new Merlin Mk2 helicopter and the Navy team's organiser for the day.  

"We had to look at what rubbish had been washed up here and tally it all up.  It’s done quite scientifically, with the same portions of beach surveyed on the same day every year all along the UK coastline."

In total, the 27 volunteers surveyed 3125 items of litter weighing 40kg on 140 metres of beach before continuing the full length of Praa Sands picking up the major items of litter.  

“The most common items were plastic pieces, polystyrene pieces and plastic line/cord/rope” said Hendra Beachwatch organiser Steve Houghton from Culdrose.

Much of the litter surveyed today was clearly the result of careless dog walkers or from people leaving empty food containers, packaging and disposable BBQs. People should take care to leave nothing on the beach when they go home.

Petty Officer Ian ‘Grizzly’ Adams

The figures obtained by the volunteers will be added to a large database managed by the Marine Conservation Society.  This is then used to monitor trends in where litter comes from and how marine waste comes to be washed up on our beaches.

"We can all do something to help," says Petty Officer Ian ‘Grizzly’ Adams (from Mullion), a trainee aircrewman at 824 Naval Air Squadron.  

"Much of the litter surveyed today was clearly the result of careless dog walkers or from people leaving empty food containers, packaging and disposable BBQs.

"People should take care to leave nothing on the beach when they go home."