Thousands of people took advantage of Thanet’s beaches to soak up the sun over the weekend – but predictably mounds of rubbish were left behind.
On Saturday (July 17) evening volunteers from the Rise Up Clean Up group cleared a whopping 31 bags of trash and numerous abandoned inflatables from Margate main sands in just two hours.
This morning a trail of rubbish was waiting to be cleared from Margate following a hugely busy day yesterday.
Dirty nappies, nitrous oxide gas canisters, pellets and bottles and even a steel soup ladle were among the debris left behind.
This month Thanet council made changes to street cleaning and bin emptying in a bid to tackle the litter issue.
Thanet has been divided into five zones and on any given day there are crews working across all five areas. Their responsibilities are emptying litter and dog bins on the streets and in parks or open spaces, clearing fly-tipping and loose waste from council housing communal bin stores, as well as general litter picking and tidying up.
There are at least two manual street cleaners working in the towns, plus two in Cliftonville, every day.
Thanet council employs additional staff in the summer season specifically for beach cleaning, working from 6am. At peak times they finish at 8pm.
The beach tractor also operates daily, as does the crew that is responsible for emptying the large 1280 litre bins.
Twelve recycling bins, created in partnership with Rotary Clubs in Thanet and Southern Water, have been – and are being – installed at isle beaches, each with a 360L wheelie bin and there are 80 bins along the coastline.
Despite the extra measures, Thanet council says teams cleared an 40 extra tonnes of waste across the district this weekend and are still tackling Sunday’s mess today.
Cllr Reece Pugh, Cabinet Member for Economic Development at Thanet District Council, said: “Waste is everyone’s responsibility, but disappointingly we continue to see a small minority of beach users spoil our beautiful beaches, parks and open spaces by leaving their rubbish behind. Over the weekend, we have seen huge amounts of rubbish left on our beaches, with many bins overflowing.
“Our hard working street cleaning team starts work at 6am every day, with their shifts extended to 8pm at Margate Main Sands and Viking Bay in Broadstairs. Our operatives removed a staggering 40 extra tonnes of waste across the district this weekend and are still clearing the aftermath from rubbish left behind on our beaches yesterday.
“There are 80 bins along our coastline and promenade bins are emptied twice a day. We employ litter pickers who are dedicated to clearing rubbish from Margate Main Sands, Viking Bay, Joss Bay, Botany Bay and Ramsgate Main Sands. In addition, a mobile squad is deployed to pick up litter from promenades and walkways daily. A system for bay inspectors and beach concessions to report full bins and emerging waste issues is in place, so that we can target beach cleaning resources to where they are most needed.
“We are extremely grateful to our community partners who are committed to working alongside our waste and recycling teams to keep our beaches, parks and open spaces clean for all to enjoy. One recent joint initiative, led by the Rotary Clubs of Thanet, saw the installation of 12 new recycling stations on our main bathing beaches, adding to the 42 recycling bins already in place at all of our Blue Flag beaches.
“We urge visitors to think about how long it takes other people to clean up after them. When a bin is full, instead of leaving rubbish on the ground, find an emptier bin or take litter back home to dispose of. Waste that isn’t properly disposed of risks polluting our seas.
“If you’re planning to visit Thanet we urge you to be considerate of local people, other visitors, wildlife and our beautiful coast and please don’t leave litter behind.”
Thanet council says measures are being taken for the welfare of authority and agency workers during the heat. Concerns had been raised that agency staff are required to wear full kit, including coats, whilst working.
A council spokesperson said: “In order to ensure that our staff are protected, our cleaning operatives are required to wear appropriate PPE. In warmer weather this includes a high visibility t-shirt, ballistic trousers and safety boots. (Provided a hi vis t-shirt or vest is worn, jackets are not required). PPE is designed to keep operatives safe in all working conditions, and applies to both council employees and agency staff.
“During this extreme heat, we are taking extra steps to ensure the safety of our staff. We are supporting frontline workers during this time by scheduling some activities such as street and beach cleansing to avoid the most intense sun around the middle of the day. We are making sure that our staff have suncream and hats to hand. Our supervisors are also taking bottles of cold water out to staff on their rounds to keep them hydrated and help them to keep cool.
“There is obviously a balance to strike to ensure our staff are as safe as possible while carrying out their duties and we are doing everything we can to make working in these current conditions as comfortable as possible.”