Clean-up campaigner meets challenge

COASTAL clean-up crusader Fran Crowe has picked up a staggering amount of litter from Suffolk's shores - 46,000 pieces of rubbish!Her personal challenge has taken her a year, and she has walked 125 miles on the county's coastline to complete her quest.

COASTAL clean-up crusader Fran Crowe has picked up a staggering amount of litter from Suffolk's shores - 46,000 pieces of rubbish!

Her personal challenge has taken her a year, and she has walked 125 miles on the county's coastline to complete her quest.

This weekend the Suffolk-based artist will be out picking up litter again when she joins hundreds of volunteers taking part in the Marine Conservation Society's (MCS) Beachwatch event to clean-up the coast and log what they find to monitor pollution of the shore.

Ms Crowe took up the MCS Coastal Challenge after reading a United Nations report which estimated that, on average, there are 46,000 pieces of plastic litter per square mile of ocean worldwide.

She was horrified, and vowed to do something about it - both by clearing an estimated 295 kg of rubbish from beaches in Suffolk, and by raising funds to help the Marine Conservation Society tackle marine litter at source.

While walking and litter picking she raised more than £700 for the MCS through sponsorship.

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“As well as countless plastic bags and packaging, I have found an unbelievable selection of things on the beach - a snapshot of almost everything we use: toys, kitchen things, lightbulbs, shotgun cartridges, toiletries and DIY. You name it, it's all there and in large quantities too” she said.

“I'd like to think I have made a difference but every time I visit the beach there is more to collect - alone my efforts are literally just a drop in the ocean.

“I'm pleased to have met my 46,000 challenge but there is no way I am going to be able to stop, knowing the harm that plastic bags and balloons, in particular, can do to wildlife.

“I'd like to encourage everyone to try and make a difference because the worst thing is that the plastic never really disappears.

“Once in the sea, it can take up to a thousand years to break down and even then it remains in tiny microscopic particles that in the end enter our food chain.”

Ms Crowe had a charity stall at Art on the Prom in Felixstowe and is holding art and environment workshops in schools. Her work will be exhibited at Landguard Fort in Felixstowe next Easter.

This weekend there will be five clean-up groups at Felixstowe - including members of the Felixstowe Society at Cobbold's Point tomorrow from 9am, and workers and their families from Felixstowe port at the viewing area from 11am to 1pm.

What do you think of Fran's efforts? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

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