A surprise surge in new volunteers for Beach Buddies has been an unexpected bonus of the coronavirus pandemic, together with a significant drop in the amount of rubbish washing up on Manx beaches.
Beach Buddies’ founder Bill Dale said, “In normal circumstances, to have been out of action for just three or four weeks would mean that beaches were covered in large amounts of rubbish, but this has not happened, and we've not held official beach cleaning events for more almost three months.
“And we absolutely did not expect that we would see a surge in new volunteers. This has been a really big bonus.”
The news has led to the donation of 200 litterpickers, gloves and bags by local corporate and trust company Suntera Global to assist the charity linking up with families across the Island.
Mark Reynolds, Chief Operating Officer at Suntera Global, said, "Beach Buddies are our Charity of the Year for 2020 and we wanted to do what we could to help support them during this unprecedented time.
“As we’ve all experienced over the past few weeks, it can be hugely beneficial to get out in the fresh air after so long inside and with many of us heading out to outdoor spaces, we can all take part in Beach Buddies’ initiatives.
“Picking up litter and cleaning up our outdoor spaces while you’re out is the perfect way to support our environment and providing extra litterpickers makes it easier than ever to get involved. We are looking forward to working with Bill and his team on of a number of exciting community projects here on the Island and we are in the process of implementing this ‘go green’ initiative across all of our office locations.
“The staff in each of our jurisdictions are actively seeking charities whose primary objective is to rid the world of plastic waste and we are delighted to be part of a cause that will inevitably make a difference.”
Bill Dale added, “We stopped our regular events for schools and companies and at weekends around three months ago, and I expected that the number of new volunteers would simply stop.
“But the response to a social media offer of free litterpickers took me totally by surprise. As a result, we have added very close to 200 new volunteers - and they are using their daily exercise to go for a walk and at the same time pick up litter mostly at the roadsides and parks and footpaths close to their homes.
“This confirms what we have been saying for a long time. With everyone staying at home the tap has been turned off. There is virtually no rubbish being dropped in streets, so it’s not finding its way onto beaches via drains and rivers.
“We are expecting that more rubbish will work its way into the system now that rules are being relaxed, but the big hope is that people might start thinking differently and that this continues when the lock-down is lifted some time in the future. But at the moment this has to be really good news for the environment and wildlife.”