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At Sand In Your Eye, we spend so much time on beaches, making our sand art – whether it is sand sculptures or sand drawings. We love stepping onto the sand, watching the sun rise as we begin our beach art with the gulls soaring overhead, the waves crashing and the occasional early morning dog walker or beachcomber coming over to see what we are doing. Sand drawings are the ultimate leave no trace activity and we always make sure to take away everything that we brought onto the beach, often picking up cans, bottles and bits of rubbish that we find that have been dropped or washed up.

Surfers Against Sewage have been concerned about the amount of waste and rubbish on the beaches for many years and were set up as a charity to raise awareness and actively work to clean up the coast.

© Richard McCarthy/PA

We joined them at Cayton Bay, a famous Yorkshire surfing spot, to make a giant 50 metre sand drawing of a seal surrounded by plastic waste to launch the Million Mile Beach Clean – the biggest ever beach clean! The sand drawing of the beautiful sea mammal sits amongst plastic bottles and face masks and looks forlornly out from the sand art, highlighting the impacts of plastic pollution on marine wildlife.

The consumption of single use plastics has increased dramatically over the last 12 months due to the Coronavirus pandemic, with more people shopping online for groceries and other goods and a fifth of the population using disposable facemasks. Plastic pollution as a result has also risen, these items end up on our beaches, in our countryside and parks and littering our streets. As well as looking unsightly, this poses a risk to wildlife and pollutes the ground and waterways.

© Richard McCarthy/PA

The Million Mile Beach Clean campaign, which will run throughout 2021, with a week of action taking place between the 15th and 23rd of May. Surfers Against Sewage are calling for Clean Leaders across the UK to register to lead a clean during this period.

You can also track your clean through the website using their Strava Club community group. As well as getting fit whilst cleaning up the environment, connecting with nature in the fresh air and being by the sea can improve your mental health – as 41% of British people think their mental health has deteriorated as a result of lockdown this can only be of benefit as we start to emerge out of lockdown.

© Richard McCarthy/PA

They hope 100,000 people will be inspired to clean up their local beach, river, street or green space. The result will be one million miles cleared by the end of the year, protecting oceans, beaches and wildlife – and giving Brits a much-needed boost as we emerge from lockdown.

We hope this beach art encourages people to get out once they are allowed and meet up with friends and family in safe bubbles and get involved to clean up their environment. Don’t forget to visit the website and find out how you can register your clean up. 

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