Make art from beach litter

Caroline Bond is a beach cleaner from East Sussex. She also makes art from the litter she collects from beaches!  

Why beach cleaning? 

Being a beach cleaner is very rewarding! It’s free, it gets you outside and it helps the environment. I grew up by the beach, and it made me so sad to see it covered in litter. I couldn’t leave it on the beach, knowing how dangerous it is for animals. They can get stuck inside it or mistake it for their dinner and eat it. So, I picked up my reusable bag and off I went!  

Turning rubbish into art! 

When I started beach cleaning, I found ropes and fishing nets everywhere. I realised that if I kept putting the rope that I found into the bin, it would just end up in a landfill site (a big underground dustbin where lots of our rubbish ends up). Instead, I decided to get creative, use the litter in art and show people what is washing up on our beaches every single day.  

I really love making birds, especially birds that live near the waterways and out at sea. These birds get affected by eating litter and, in some cases, they feed it to their babies. Every tiny strand of ghost net you pick up will help prevent this from happening.  

Another of my favourite makes are big shopping baskets. That way I’m using a waste product and turning it into something useful that will stop people having to grab a plastic bag when they go shopping.  

Sometimes I make tiny dogs, too! There are lots of dog walkers that help on beach cleans. It’s so nice to make gifts for other people who are helping clean up our beaches.  

By making and creating art from beach plastics I also make sure people keep talking about plastic pollution, and educate more people on how they can be part of the solution. 

If everyone made just a few changes to what they buy when they shop, then it would have a big effect!  

Want to help? 

2 minute beach clean is an online community, or a big family, of beach cleaners! This family has people of all ages, from all over the world. When you are out cleaning the beach with your family, you can take a photo of the litter you see and ask your parent or guardian to use #2minutebeachclean on Instagram. This means that your litter can get added to a database – it’s your way of being a young scientist and getting active against plastic pollution!  

Being a beach cleaner is a great way to show the place you enjoy that you love it! Beaches and other environments, like parks and playgrounds, can’t clean themselves. By helping out and picking up litter with an adult, you are helping all the animals and people that live there too.  

Here’s some very important things to remember if you’re picking litter, to keep you safe: 

  • Never do this by yourself! Always make sure you have an adult with you; 

  • Make sure you wear gloves if you’re picking up litter, whether you’re on a beach or in your local park; 

  • There can be very dangerous things on the floor outside, so make sure your adult checks what you are picking up; 

  • Always respect the sea! It’s a natural environment and it can change its mood very quickly; 

Also, remember to always think before buying single-use plastics. If you’re going on a long journey, fill up a water bottle before you go! Do you need a straw with your drink?  

GHOST NETS 

Ghost nets are big fishing nets lost at sea. They float around, spread out under the water. When it’s hot they rise and catch fish at the top. When the sun goes down they fall lower down, catching animals that swim deeper. Because there isn’t a fishing boat connected to the net, there are no humans there to set the animals free. That’s why it’s really dangerous to have in the oceans.