Clean Ocean Sailing team collects 60 tons of plastic from remote areas of Cornish coast

Most of the rubbish they collect has floated ashore from places like America. Credit: Clean Ocean Sailing

A team have collected 60 tonnes of marine plastic from all around Cornwall.

The Clean Ocean Sailing crew have been cleaning up Cornish beaches and coves since 2017.

They are about to return from a two week sail around the Isles of Scilly where they have gathered 30 large bags worth of plastic.

Volunteers have been cleaning remote areas, collecting plastic rubbish from beaches and rocky shores by kayaks, canoes and rowing boats.

They have been storing all the collected material on the mothership 'The Annette', a 115-year-old wooden sailing boat.

The team have been using kayaks to access remote coastline Credit: Clean Ocean Sailing

The team of six sailed to St Mary's island at the beginning of August. Since then they have anchored off 13 remote islands and cleaned 11 kilometres of coastline. 

They have collected thousands of plastic bottles, nets, ropes, barrels, destroyed crab pots and single use plastic packaging coming from all around the world.

Steve Green, Co-founder of Clean Ocean Sailing, said: "We haven’t had enough dumpy bags for how much plastic we found, so we had to improvise how to get everything on the deck of the boat.

"It’s a tragedy that there is so much plastic in the ocean, because the Scillies are the first landfall for the Gulf Stream, it all accumulates here before it goes to the mainland.

"We’ve found things with American, South American, and Asian branding on it.

"It's not the locals who are littering here – in fact, anything that we find that is identifiable has come from all of the world."

Helen Frost, one of the volunteers, said: " I’ve heard the expression 'We are all in the same boat' many times but this is the first time I’ve really felt what that means, to be part of a crew like that.

"Clean Ocean Sailing is an amazing thing to be part of; a community committed to taking positive actions to make real change.

"It’s shown me that ‘we are all on the same planet’ in a much more immediate way.

"It’s a powerful thing these days to be part of a community, to share goals and values and to do something meaningful in the world."