ORCA and DFDS take part in Boskalis Beach Clean

23rd Aug 2017

- Volunteers taking part in Boskalis Beach Clean

On August 15th 2017 the North Sea ORCA team joined our colleagues at DFDS for the Boskalis Beach Clean in Holland. The beach clean is an annual event and has been running since 2013, with volunteers picking up litter along the Dutch coast. This year two teams cleaned the entire coastline in just two weeks, with each team started at different ends of the Dutch coast and finished at the central point near Ijmuiden.

Lucy (ORCA’s Senior Wildlife Officer) and Charlie (our current Wildlife Officer Placement) joined the huge team of volunteers for the final event. Geeke and Sandra from DFDS in Holland also joined the ORCA team.  DFDS were kind enough to sponsor the event. Geeke and Lucy gave talks to the 200 enthusiastic beach cleaners, highlighting the importance of ORCA's work in monitoring the wildlife of the North Sea. It is our fantastic relationships we have with our partners that allows ORCA to collect scientifically robust data, which has lead to our ‘The State of European Cetaceans Report’ published earlier this year.

The most common item found along the Dutch coast is fishing line. This is used during trawling and breaks up along the sea floor. Small and large pieces are a serious threat to the marine environment and can be ingested by cetaceans and sea birds, as well as entangling them. Astonishingly, 80% of birds are thought to have plastic in their systems and birds have been seen regurgitating plastic to their offspring. In addition to fishing line, large quantities of paraffin where also found along the beach strand line. This highlights the difficulties we have with implementing maritime legislation and policing waste laws in our oceans.

In total for the 2017 Boskalis Beach Clean 2,748 volunteers came together to collect 14,929kg of litter! This is a huge amount of rubbish that has been removed from the environment and will no longer be able to harm wildlife along the Dutch coast. So when are you going to join your local beach clean?

- Charlie (left) and Lucy (right) from ORCA