Time to clean up our act 

The Green Cafe event for Wednesday, May 12

The Green Cafe event for Wednesday, May 12 - Credit: Groundwork South

You would think that living within an UNESCO Global Geopark (a site/landscape designated for its international geological significance), would mean that we residents of the English Riviera should know a thing or two about time. 

After all, this tiny corner of the world is the only location to have had a geological time named after it – the Devonian Period (spanning some sixty million years, from 409 to363 million years ago). 

And yet we seem to have no idea how long things can last. 

A cigarette end for example: that can last two to ten years. Aluminium drink cans? They can be hanging around for 200 years. And those villainous plastic bottles? Those can persist in the environment for 500 years – far longer once they break down into microplastic particles. 

Anyone who has ever done a litter pick has no doubt had a ‘blast from the past’ moment upon finding a crisp packet for a type of snack they used to eat as a child but is no longer made anymore.

That means that crisp packet, thrown away 10, 20 or maybe 30 years ago, is still recognisable – it has barely broken down in all that time.

Litter found on a Community Clean Up at Markham Plantation

Litter found on a community clean-up at Markham Plantation is unfortunately an all-too-common sight in so many of our green spaces. - Credit: V Bailey

At Groundwork South, we are gearing up for the Great British Spring Clean which runs from May 28-June 13 this year.

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We will be supporting SWISCo and the many members of the community who take part in the national clean-up initiative to remove millions of pieces of litter from our streets, green spaces, and coastline. 

To get things started, this month’s Green Café on Wednesday, May 12, will be all about rubbish - for anyone wanting to organise a Great British Spring Clean event, a regular community clean-up session, or a litter-pick on a family walk - and will cover aspects from making sure you stay safe to where to get hold of kit and how to dispose of the rubbish you find.

For support organising a community clean-up in your local green space and for more information about the Green Cafe, please contact Hannah Worthington on 07940 510 616 or email hannah.worthington@groundwork.org.uk