No Litter, Please

By The Isle of Thanet News

Those summer vibes are brewing, the beaches are already getting busy, and visitors are coming. Locals and tourists alike are filling the streets as our seaside summer begins again.

This is the time where Thanet makes its mark. We’ve got through the dark days, the winter months. We are reborn, resurrected in the sun as the mercury climbs the thermometer and the clouds part.

Of course, everything looks stunning. It does in winter, too; around here the light is always incredible, even when the weather isn’t. There’s something special about living in a place where you can watch the sun rise over one sea and set into another.

Having grown up here, I find I sometimes take the beaches for granted. I know they’re there; I don’t spend time on them as often as I should. They become fairly commonplace.

I always notice them when I’m not here, though. If I’m inland—normally about an hour from the coast—I miss the salt taste of the air, the almost inaudible rumble of the waves, even the background racket of the seagulls. It doesn’t matter if I’m in a city or the countryside, if I’m not near the coast I don’t feel settled. I need to be near the sea.

It seems I’m not the only one, either. For the past few years, visitor numbers to Thanet have increased, with almost 8,000 jobs supported by our now-flourishing tourism industry. Trendy lifestyle magazines, social media aspiration, and the rise of the ‘staycation’ have seen record numbers hit our sandy shores. That being said, overcrowding brings its own problems.

The worst part of summer in Thanet is not all the people—which are great for the local economy and brings a real atmosphere—and not anything as trivial as lack of parking or the chippie selling out of cod. The big problem is, and always has been, litter.

If you wander down to the beach to watch the sun set of an evening, you’ll be greeted by a field of rubbish. This is not limited to one specific bay, though the main beaches in each town do tend to get hit the worst. By the morning it has gone, as the Council cleaning team do a fine job of clearing it, however it shouldn’t be there in the first place. If we dump rubbish all over the floor, we will lose these wonderful beaches.

Next time I’m at the beach, I’m going to make a conscious effort to collect some rubbish and put it in the nearest bin. More than my own rubbish, I’m going to clear up after other people. Although it will be collected in the morning, what happens to it overnight? The tide will collect it, wash it out to sea, and add to the excessive amounts of trash already in the oceans. Better I pick it up.

Imagine if we all did that; if we all picked up a few bits of rubbish. How much better would the beaches look then?

No Litter Please - First Published In The Isle of Thanet News
First published in the Isle of Thanet News, 1 June 2019