Volunteers Haul Heavy Rubber Matting From Compton Beach

Isle of Wight volunteers put their strength to the test yesterday (Monday) to remove large amounts of heavy material from a beach.

Sarah Marshall has been noticing the large, heavy pieces of black rubber matting along Fields Beach near Compton Farm while her partner was surfing.

I put out a call for help on social media and had some volunteers from that.

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When Sarah and the volunteers arrived, extra help was at hand:

Simon who surfs at Compton and often does a litter pick along the beach was a great help, a girl called Poppy, who was just down on the beach to relax, joined in and helped us carry everything up the steps and a guy called Mike, who was on holiday from the New Forest, was also a great help.

Clearing beaches of harmful materials is something Sarah has been doing for years. She’s a member of both the Marine Conservation Society and Surfers against Sewerage. She’s also the founder of Message In A Bottle (MIAB) which she uses to post information on marine plastic pollution and to sell items made out of recyclable materials found on beaches to encourage people to cut down on the amount of plastic they use. She says she’ll even find herself cleaning a beach whilst on holiday.

It means now the beach is clear of the matting and can’t cause harm to people or marine life.

The team aren’t sure exactly what the material is, but they think it may be a fender which runs along a pontoon boat – a heavy rubber with matting inside. The volunteers say it’s been on the beach for two years. Sarah says removing it wasn’t an easy job:

I’d say it was between 20 and 25 metres long and probably half that wide. Some of it was buried deep in the sand so we had to dig some of it up. It’s such a thick rubber – think we’ve all had a good workout.

To remove the materials from the beach, the volunteers had to conquer the steep steps.

It’s really heavy, so even though we cut it into sections, each section is quite a weight so by the time we hauled it along the beach and got it to the top of the steps, we were quite exhausted.

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There were four or five of us that were able to go but people already down there were very quick to come forward and do their bit, which was great.

Sarah says she’s frustrated by what she finds along beaches on the Island:

A lot of the things you see washed up is plastic water bottles, coffee cups, etc so by reducing our waste will reduce the amount that goes out into the ocean.

One of the pieces of rubber matting is now being used as a lining for the bottom of a boat. A waste collector has offered to take the rest away.

I want to thank everyone who helped, including Brian Green from Freshwater, Poppy who went to relax on the beach, Mike from Milford upon Sea on holiday [..] People were very quick to come forward and offer to do their bit, which was great. I’m all for community action on these things.

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