Huge quantities of marine litter had gathered on the beaches of the Isle of Man when Beach Buddies was created in 2006-07. In some places, the amount of rubbish had reached crisis point and the beaches were knee-deep in all sorts of items, chiefly made of plastic.
The pictures here show the beach at Ballaugh Cronk in the Isle of Man in late 2006. This is where the first organised beach cleaning was held for Beach Buddies. Two people spent all their weekends there for the following six weeks, removing thousands of items of marine litter. Plastic bottles were, by far, the most numerous and 30,000 plastic bottles were collected over six weekends.
Evidence from the labels on containers buried deep in the sand, showed that some of the rubbish dated back 25–30 years. From that moment, in late 2006, Beach Buddies was created, and grew. Today, we have reached 8,500 volunteers (in a population of 84,000) and that’s without counting the many thousands of people who walk the beaches and follow the spirit to “fill a bag and make a difference”.
Beach Buddies is today the biggest volunteer group in the Isle of Man, by a huge margin. And the rest of the world is now watching what we are doing.