SURFERS are hoping to make waves after receiving backing from an MP for their campaign.
Surfers Against Sewage (SAS) aims to protect beaches from rubbish and sewage waste
At the weekend, members held a clean-up on Seaburn Beach, attracting more than 20 volunteers – including MP Julie Elliott.
The clean-up started at Little Italy restaurant, Whitburn Road, and covered the full length of the beach, and was part of a national event.
The charity also went along to Whitburn Beach.
It also highlighted the ongoing Protect Our Waves petition, which the charity will present to Parliament on October 22.
Sunderland Central MP Julie Elliott said the work of the SAS is important and she is keen to support its efforts.
“I was happy to support Surfers Against Sewage in their litter pick to highlight the problems caused on the beach by what people are putting down their toilets,” she said.
“It was a bit of an eye-opener, to be honest. I have to say I was a bit shocked.”
The group spent more than two hours collecting waste from Seaburn Beach and regional representative for SAS, Jamie Viveash, said he was surprised how much there was.
“We must have collected about seven black bags, which is surprising for the time of year and the weather conditions,” he said.
“This beach is known as a bit of a troubled area for waste because it is near sewage pipes at Latimer’s, and at Roker Park, and when they are too full, they overflow into the water nearby.
“One man couldn’t believe how much there was, he was still collecting rubbish after the rest of the volunteers left.”
SAS, which organised the clean-up as part of its Think Before You Flush campaign, said it wants to highlight the dangers to the environment in sewage waste such as cotton bud sticks and other sanitary refuse ending up on beaches, and also the impact which litter such as plastic bags and bottles has on sea life.
“The need for a clean-up was clear for everyone to see,” said Dom Ferris, campaign officer at SAS.
“Every year over one million sea birds and sea mammals die from becoming entangled with litter such as plastic bags and fishing nets, and ingesting small bits of fishing line.”
“This causes massive amounts of harm, and as yet unknown damage to the food chain, including food for people.”