Brighton’s disco beach clean volunteers exceed 2,000 in 2018

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Every piece of litter you retrieve from Brighton beach reduces a hazard for marine wildlife and our oceans.

Brighton beach sadly suffers from huge swells of litter after big events like Pride and Bank holiday weekend. Luckily, volunteer groups like Pier 2 Pier Beach Clean have been on hand to ensure our seafront is rubbish-free and dancing while they do it (quite literally).

Amy Gibson launched Pier 2 Pier in the summer of 2017 after she moved from Seaford to Brighton and was shocked at the amount of litter discarded on the beach. In its very short existence, the organisation has since assembled around 2,000 volunteers in 2018 for their silent disco beach cleans.

“The reason we measured our success in the number of people last year is because that’s our mission – to get more people involved with ocean activism and build an army of beach clean heroes,” Amy explained. She said by reaching their target of 2,000 people on the beach cleans showed them people want to be a part in the movement.

Amy Gibson, founder of Pier2Pier © Pier2Pier Beach Clean

Volunteers are given litter picking tools and headphones, allowing them to tune in to one of three music channels while you clean. The organisation is supported by Brighton and Hove City Council’s #StreetsAhead campaign, also launched in Summer 2017.

Amy said: “Conservation can seem overwhelming and sometimes we want to help but we have no idea where to start. Through our fun and unique events, we invite people to take part in the movement and take action for the planet in a way that’s fun and accessible for them.”

“Beach cleaning is not only good for the ocean and the planet, but it’s also good for you too.”

According to statistics, Pier 2 Pier state over eight million tonnes of plastic is dumped into the ocean every year. If this continues, there will be more plastic in the sea than fish by 2050.

Figures from Perseus online claim over 100,000 turtles and marine mammals, such as dolphins, whales and seals, are killed by plastic marine litter every year around the world. Items commonly found on our beaches take years to break down, such as plastic bottles (450 years) and aluminium cans (at least 80 years).

© Pier 2 Pier Beach Clean

Pier 2 Pier encourages people to take responsibility for the actions of other humans who may litter by making it into a fun outdoor activity rather than a chore: “Brightonians like to party and our Silent Disco Beach Cleans are always a big hit for adults and children.”

“We invite people to take part in the movement and take action for the planet.”

2019 was a busy year for Pier 2 Pier, with successful events such as the ‘Hallowclean‘ event in October and their first school beach clean event with Brighton and Hove High School. Last year, the organisation also launched eco team-building days, inviting lots of brand new beach cleaners from Brighton and London businesses. 

Hallowclean disco in October © Georgia Brown

Amy also announced the other health benefits to spending time by the sea: “Beach cleaning is not only good for the ocean and the planet, but it’s also good for you too. Being near water is calming, focusing on a task can reduce anxiety, doing good deeds makes you happier, getting out to nature can reboot your energy, and it can be genuinely really good fun!”

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Pier 2 Pier’s first event of the year will be in conjunction with Valentine’s Day, with a Love Your Beach clean-up on Saturday 16 February: “We’ll be joined again by local artist, Irene Soler, who will create a giant litter heart using the litter collected on the day in order to showcase the most common items found on the beach. We ask locals to ‘love their beach’ by joining us and considering giving up these single-use items!”

In March, the volunteers will be gathering again for the Great British Spring Clean on Brighton’s seafront. To stay up-to-date with Pier 2 Pier’s beach clean meetups visit their website or follow their Facebook page.

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