Meet the Yorkshire surfer encouraging locals to become ‘litter heroes' and take part in a million mile beach clean

A Scarborough surfer is encouraging people to take part in the most ambitious beach clean ever undertaken in the UK.

Pictured Scarborough's South Bay. On Saturday a beach clean will begin at 4pm as part of the Million Mile Beach Clean campaign.

Organised by Surfers Against Sewage, (SAS) the beach clean is a new campaign which is running throughout 2021.

The million mile campaign aims to revitalise both people and planet by encouraging 100,000 individuals to commit to cleaning up 10 miles at their local beach, river, street or other green space by the end of the year.

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Pictured, Steve Crawford, who has been involved with the SAS since the early 1990’s, and is the Scarborough and North East rep. He has also been giving surfing lessons for 16 years on Scarborough's South Bay.

Steve Crawford, 52, has been involved with the SAS since the early 1990’s, and is the Scarborough and North East rep. He has also been giving surfing lessons for 16 years on Scarborough's South Bay.

Tomorrow Steve will be a prominent figure on that very beach as he helps take part in an ambitious socially distanced beach clean.

Nationally 50,000 volunteers have committed to clean more than 350,000 miles of coastline and countryside in just seven days.

Steve said: "As a surfer you notice disruption on the beach, and you start to realise if you don’t pick it up there and then - then it’s gone for good.

"If it isn’t picked up at that moment - and the tide comes in, that is in the sea and we know the hugely damaging impact that is having on the ocean now."

He added he had seen an increase over the years with the problem with litter at South Bay - with one of the most damaging items often found being beer and cider plastic rings.

He said: "South Bay is one of the busiest beaches in Yorkshire. We get loads of people here, and while most people are tidy, South Bay gets hit really really hard by stuff being left all the time... you name it - it gets left here.

"A really damaging item is little plastic things that keep cans together. Those little rings of plastic - get stuck round all sorts of birds and wildlife."

Steve, who surfs most days, said he was even more determined to do his bit after he found a baby seal with fishing wire around its neck a few years ago.

He added due to the pandemic, there was a fear of a littering epidemic as lockdown eases, but added this was an opportunity for everybody to do their bit to protect local beauty spots.

Steve said: "A lot of people are aware there is more rubbish around as a result of the pandemic - with masks and single use stuff .

"But this is an opportunity to reconnect back with the places we all love and get them tidy again.

"A lot of people have been very anxious about what has been going on - this way we can do something. Get out into the countryside and do something nice and actually feel like you are doing something important together while making it better."

Steve will also lead a 10-mile litter pick from Filey Brigg to the Sealife Centre, on Monday, 17 May.

“You can be an individual, or in a small group and be part of a bigger whole."

The big clean is the flagship week for the SAS beach scheme as part of a year-long plastic pollution clean-up campaign.

Launched during Mental Health Awareness Week, the charity wants to encourage people to get outdoors and reconnect with nature for their physical and mental wellbeing, whilst also making a positive impact on our oceans.

Hugo Tagholm, the chief executive of Surfers Against Sewage, said: “Since announcing the Million Mile Beach Clean in April, we have seen a groundswell of momentum to tackle the plastic pollution crisis.

"Thousands of ocean activists have joined our mission to clean up parks, rivers and beaches across the UK and it is the perfect activity to get involved in as the world starts to open up. Get involved today and you can experience the numerous benefits to mental health and physical wellbeing, as well as making a positive impact on the planet.”

Surfers Against Sewage are calling on people across the UK to join the campaign and commit to cleaning up 10 miles of their local beach or area.

To get involved visit their website here and track your beach cleans via their Strava App community group.  


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