A new community beach clean group has been tackling the mounds of litter left on Margate Main Sands by beach-goers.
Rise Up, Clean Up Margate held its first community litter pick on July 24 with 50 people taking part.
A second evening clean up, with 23 volunteers, saw a whopping 75 bags of rubbish collected in just 90 minutes.
Rise Up, Clean Up is the creation of Margate theatre set and costume designer Amy Cook. The mum-of-one says the group is a response to the continuing issue of littering on the main beach.
She said: “It has been an issue over the past few years but is particularly bad this year. We are focusing mainly on Margate Main Sand. There are already groups to tackle the issues in other areas but it struck me that there wasn’t one focusing on the main sands so I started something up to get the community out there, showing how much we care about our beach and environment.”
Amy says due to lockdown, and the continued closure of theatres, there has not been any work, leaving her with the time to co-ordinate the effort.
She has been joined by a number of local artists and designers as well as other residents.
She said: “Local businesses have also been supporting us, we have a graphic designer who created our crowdfunding logo and there have been lots of different levels of community engagement.”
The beach cleans are held on Friday evenings, from 7pm, once visitors have started to leave the sands.
Amy said: “The beach starts to empty then so we have some space. The council empty the bins but do not clear the beach until the following morning although they have people out with litter pickers until they clock off at about 8pm. But then you have the tide and the seagulls so it is important to do it in the evening.”
Everyone is welcome to turn up and join in, under-18s need to be accompanied by an adult. Volunteers are asked to bring a mask and gloves and closed in footwear.
Amy said: “Most locals use other beaches, like Westgate or Palm Bay. They are often shocked when they see photos of what the main sands look like at the end of the day. Last week it looked like a war zone. But there has been a fantastic community effort, we even had some teenage girls who put on the hi viz over the bikinis to help – it’s amazing how teenage boys suddenly want to clear up then!”
The group also gives out bags during the day for people to clear their rubbish into and Amy says the response has been positive.
Behind the scenes talks are taking place with Thanet council over creating campaign murals and posters.
The group can also be found on Twitter and Instagram.