Documentary follows beach cleaners at Llanelli

Special report by Ka Long Tung and Adwitiya Pal,  PinkHouse Productions studio

Journalism students from Cardiff University have teamed up with Llanelli residents to make a documentary about cleaning up the beach.

Llanelli like most other beaches suffers from litter pollution.

Now a Beach clean organised by a Llanelli family has been filmed and they have made an appeal to locals not to litter.

The family of three organised the clean to make the beach safer and raise awareness for environmental pollution.

Llanelli’s beach may not be the dirtiest one, but the volunteers found more than 28 kilos of trash in under 2 hours.

The community beach clean took place on 6 August and saw a total of 9 volunteers, equipped with gloves, bags, and litter pickers.

Mads Llyr, one of the organisers, was surprised by the amount of rubbish she saw on the beach while walking with her daughter. “We started the clean really on a whim,” she said.

The next day, the family went to pick litter just by themselves, which soon expanded into a community event.

The move was initiated by her daughter Celyn, who is part of her school’s eco-council.

“As we were finishing, my daughter said ‘Can we make this a regular thing?”, Mads said. “We said ‘Absolutely. Let’s do it.’”

The attachment to the Welsh town has drawn the family to start organising the grassroots event. “This is our home. We love this place,” said Daf Matthews-Williams, Mad’s husband.

The event was backed by Surfers Against Sewage, one of the UK’s most active and successful environmental charities, who also provided first-aid kits and sanitisers.

The family, which has been hosting a community library since the pandemic, hopes that this sparks a change in the mindset of the beachgoers and that they become more responsible about the things they leave on the beach.

“There’s no point in doing this if they keep littering the beach again,” said Daf. “The less they litter, the less we’ll have to clean, which is the main point of it.”

Volunteers were also worried about the potential dangers of glass pieces from broken bottles on the beach.

Malcolm Hurlin, a volunteer who was participating in a beach clean for the first time, said that glass was the worst thing you could get there.

Little shards of glass, according to Daf, can hurt the people on the beach who’re usually barefoot, especially children and even dogs.

Daf was also concerned about the litter that could possibly be eaten by the fish or the seagulls and eventually pollute the food chain.

After picking the litter, the volunteers bagged it for recycling. But not all of it was recyclable.

From the 28.2kg of waste, 15kg was non-recyclable. Other waste collected included 2.2kg of cans, 2.2kg of plastic, and 8.8kg of glass.

Mads and Daf said that they plan to organise the beach clean every two weeks, and hope that people become aware of the consequences of their actions on the beach and the environment.

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