‘Twas an overcast Sunday morning. A spirited and well humoured battalion of volunteers gathered on the Ripe in Lydd, armed and keen to engage with the incoming tide of rubbish being washed up on the nearby shore. Spirits were high and preparations were being made for the offerings of cake (watch those pickers!) and tea post pick. We filed off in our various battalions through the MOD area and headed over to Dengemarsh and Galloways, where we would conduct our campaign.
In the name of tidy beaches and protecting wildlife, we hit the shingle with vengeance and vigour. The battle plan was simple – two teams, one sweeping in from the left, the other from the right, to converge in the middle where we would no doubt congratulate each other on our bounty.
They call themselves the Litter Picking Watch Romney Marsh. The creation of Eric Brown, they have been meeting for their monthly litter picks for 10 years, gathering over 9,000 black sacks of rubbish last year alone.
Asking Eric what motivates him: ‘It’s a great way to have a good social whilst doing our bit for the environment. We don’t get too hung up on the ‘why’s and ‘who’s of the bigger picture. We enjoying getting together, making new friends, and of course, eating cake and drinking tea – the most vital component of the effort needless to say – what’s not to like!”
After two hours of unrelenting effort I managed to meet the standard quota for a novice picker – three bags. Bottles, plastic wrapping and bunches of fishing line made up the majority of finds, along with larger shards of metal and pieces of plastic of various shapes and sizes – even a radio. Alas, BBC Radio 4 was unattainable.
Asking Eric what his most unusual find is, “We were in a pick in some woods near Brenzett and to my amazement we came across a genuine sheathed samurai sword. Needless to say we turned it into the police. We regularly come across empty wallets and purses, presumably the effects of theft, and once even found a (locked) safe”.
Gathering back at our meeting point the count comes in at a bountiful 56 bags, picked by 19 volunteers – a good haul I’m told.
As a closing comment Eric asks me if I know of any litter picking organisations based in Rye. “It would be great to team up with a group that picks to the west of us so we can close a gap that doesn’t get picked between Lydd and Rye. Suggestions welcome via our Facebook page”
Image Credits: Litter Picking Watch Romney Marsh .