As lockdown eased towards the end of June, people started to flock to Margate's beaches in their thousands. The weather was beautiful and all those who had planned European get-aways this summer, suddenly found themselves trapped in the UK. Margate, with its beautiful sand beaches and easy transport links to London, became the obvious holiday destination for people desperate to escape the house after months of lockdown.
Over one weekend in late June, over 100,000 people visited Margate and Main Sands beach. This was the result.
It was clear that Margate's infrastructure was in no ways prepared for this unprecedented rise in tourism. The litter collection teams were overwhelmed, toilet facilities proved inadequate and security guards had to be deployed on the beaches. It was in this moment that RISE UP. CLEAN UP. was born.
Whilst we strongly believe that Thanet Council bears the brunt of the responsibility for tackling the litter issue, we also understand that these are extraordinary times. We must come together as a community and acknowledge that we can all play a role in keeping Margate beautiful.
To inspire people to come together as a community, and seek creative solutions that will tackle the issue of litter on our beaches.
To organise regular community beach cleans – providing litter pickers, and bin bags to all those who want to be involved.
To be a visible presence on the beaches during the busier summer season – talking to the public, collecting litter and handing out bin bags.
To work with the council and relevant tour/transport operators to tackle the problem at all levels, promoting meaningful and long-lasting change.
- Organised community beach cleans.
- Collected hundreds of bags of rubbish from Margate Main Sands.
- Handed out hundreds of bin bags to beach goers on busy days.
- Put up posters and banners to spread awareness of the litter issue.
- Engaged with local people to seek creative solutions to the problem.
- Forged relationships with Thanet Council that mean we are now working in partnership to tackle the rubbish issue.
We believe in leading by example. The council is working to improve Margate's infrastructure, but they are stretched and institutional change comes slowly. The summer season is upon us and we need to act fast. With funding we can roll out a series of initiatives which are designed to tackle the problem NOW.
- We want to have a large scale "rubbish" installation in Margate Station ticket hall.
- We want to roll out schemes for tackling cigarette litter - such as souvenir keychain ashtrays and innovative cigarette disposal units.
- We want to trial re-usable pint glasses, with pubs offering discounts to customers who use them.
- We want to distribute hundreds more biodegradable bin bags to beach goers.
- We want to support local artists in their endeavours to raise awareness of the litter problem through murals, installations and poster campaigns.
- We want to offer more opportunities for people to litter pick in their own time.
- We will launch a web shop selling litter picking kits - the proceeds from which will go straight back into our work.