Litter picking at Blackpool Beach

We had a beautiful day in Blackpool, the sun was shining and warm. We visited the Merlin attractions, sea-life, madam Tussauds and the tower eye. We admired the view of the stunning, long, golden sand beach from the top of the tower as the tide was out. We rode a tram to south pier for the experience of riding on a tram and then we played on the beach.

We had our bucket and spades, the children thoroughly enjoyed getting soaked, luckily we had a towel and a change of clothes (that I bought from a nearby beach market) because these children are unable to simply paddle their feet! In they go up to their necks, even the 3 year old showing no fear at all.

It really is beautiful, still warm as the sun begins to go down and the tide begins to come up and we all begin to get tired and hungry. And so we walk along the seafront back towards the tower where we parked the car, ready to find a restaurant for dinner before driving back to our accommodation. Knowing that the 3 year old will fall asleep in the car so dinner before we set off is a must. Knowing also that we want to watch the sun set over the sea before we leave this place.

While walking along, I notice a Styrofoam chip tray, just sitting on the sea wall. No one is around, there is a bin just a few feet away. Without a word I bend down to pick it up, carry it with me and pop it in the bin as I walk past. Then I spot a burger tray / box, and a plastic drink bottle, again I pick these up and deposit them into the bins as I walk along.

My husband sees me, and as he walks past a discarded drinks can while holding the 3 year olds hand as he balances on the wall, they collect the drinks can and also this goes into one of the bins. The older children have seen, I haven’t said anything to them, they make the decision to then dart off of their paths to collect bottles, cans and chip papers. We form a line almost along the promenade. Not intentionally but it just happens, picking and collecting litter to put in the bins as we pass. Until before we know it we have reached our destination.

As we cross the road to get to our chosen restaurant another family walk along towards us. A coke can clatters and bangs off the curb, startling the horses lined up for the tourist carriages, as a boy has kicked it like a football. The boy continues walking with his family. While my children look on bemused / saddened / frustrated and angered that people can care so little.

We wash our hands thoroughly and enjoy our dinner before crossing back over the road to watch the sun go down. The tide is fully in now, waves crashing against the steps that we had walked along earlier on. Looking down along the sea front there is still so much rubbish to be seen. Cans, chip papers, bottles. There are bins every couple of yards, anyone who had sat on those steps enjoying a chippy dinner would have walked past a bin as they left the beach. Why sit and admire the beauty of the sea and then purposefully allow yourself to litter it? Even when walking back to the car, they continue to pick up Mac Donald’s packaging and even a whole carrier bag, ready tied, full of rubbish but still just dropped on the floor, very odd, I mean, you’ve already bagged it all up!!! We all get to make that decision, help, or ignore.

I set my children an example that day, I didn’t tell them to pick litter, I didn’t plan to do it myself (funny really, as we planned a littler pick during 30 days wild and didn’t get round to doing it as planned). This was not an organised activity it was just me, doing what I felt that I should do. I am hopeful that my example stays with them, is a lesson to them, one that will also in turn be passed on to my grandchildren.

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