Collected plastic at Polzeath beach

2 Minute Beach Clean

Turning the tide on plastic pollution is a daunting task but what would happen if you just spend two minutes collecting waste? That’s the idea behind the 2 Minute Beach Clean.

Two minutes doesn’t seem like long at all but you can find a surprising amount of plastic in a short time if you start looking. We quickly had our hands full when we came to a beach after a storm. The amount depends on weather conditions and location but unfortunately you can probably find a piece plastic on any beach in the world.

So why bother? Well, two minutes isn’t long and it would be hard to measure any reduction in waste, especially with the current rate of plastic entering oceans! The simple action of picking plastic up however points to a bigger shift, it’s a shift in mentality and a reversal of the dispose-and-forget attitude.

When we pick up plastic, we show that it’s unacceptable with beaches covered in non-degradable rubbish. Other people that took a stroll along the beach commented and it’s good if we talk about the problem. It’s relatively easy to ignore plastic litter if you take it for granted and think nothing can be done but if someone begins collecting it then begs the question if we could do it differently.

Do we need to wrap chocolate bars in single-use plastic that take decades if not centuries to decompose? We don’t! That’s the obvious answer. Yet all predictions estimate that global plastic will double and triple in the next few years.

The 2 Minute Beach Clean is a practice in realising the problem on a personal and local level. Every tiny colourful piece of plastic forces you to confront an enormous problem directly. It’s a practical and accesible activity, yet it comes with global implications.

Also once we had begun collecting we often end up in a reverse treasure hunt, seeing what strange pieces that we could find. Several times we got lost in the process and spend closer to an hour collecting human artefacts. That’s not the point however – start with two minutes and see what happens.

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