A 70-year-old grandmother who goes by the nickname “Action Nan” celebrated the first weeks of 2019 in the glow of a successful 2018 campaign to visit and clean dozens of beaches in Britain.
"52 beach cleanups in 2018 was my New Years Resolution and it was finally done," said Pat Smith, founder of the environmental campaign group Final Straw Cornwall, in a statement. "I will not stop as our beaches need me!"
Pat Smith and a furry buddy during one of their beach cleanings in 2018 (Photo: Pat Smith)
Throughout his campaign, Smith kept an online journal describing the state of the beaches he visited, the trash he collected, and his occasional frustrations with the endless litter in some places.
“It is very disappointing when I cleaned the same beach last week and found it in a worse state this week,” he shared during week 11. “More people need to get involved in witnessing the damage that is being done to our Environment, what such It may result in them being more careful with casual garbage. "
“I walked with my grandchildren to Harlyn Beach with a group of over 20 volunteers,” she wrote during week 15. “The beach was very clean, except for the micro-plastics on the filament line and a pair of shorts that they decorated a large rock. Yes, I tried to find the owner without pants, but I had no luck… "
As the beach clean-up campaign progressed, Smith began offering more in-depth reflections on the general problem of plastic pollution. As MNN's own Starre Vartan concluded in September, it is a problem that volunteers cannot solve on their own. To truly prevent our beaches and other natural areas from becoming plastics pests, change must first come through specific legislation.
“I am beginning to feel that beach clean-up and garbage collection, while useful at the time, are only scratching the surface of a much larger problem that needs to be addressed by politicians,” Smith wrote. “It is necessary to develop a closed-loop system so that single-use plastics are recyclable and have a scheduled end-of-life reuse so that they never become waste. We must all wake up to the fact that we only have one precious planet and that each of us must take responsibility for caring for it. "
While his campaign is over, Smith has no intention of stopping his visits to the beautiful coasts that remain under threat. It is a New Years resolution that, in your opinion, has no expiration date. All it asks is that the rest of us take the time to rethink our own disposal practices.
"A lot of the trash I've collected consists of everyday items," says Pat. “We all use these things and it is shocking to find them contaminating our beautiful beaches. Please, let's try to be more careful next year. I am obligated to try to protect our living planet for my children and grandchildren, and I will continue to do everything in my power to achieve that. "