Talking to residents on the doorstep, it is clear that many people are proud of the natural beauty our town offers. Which is why when we see the pictures of the amount of litter left on our beaches, it brings forward a very emotive response.
Rightfully so, people have told me of their disappointment to see these images which have a negative effect on both the image of our town and our environment. However, these images have also brought forward a real community-led campaign to fight against litter on our beaches.
On June 7, I joined Councillor Nelson, Pernod Ricard UK, and the Marine Conservation Society to pick up litter and take part in the national beach-watch survey, which aims to catalogue the forms of litter found on our beaches.
Not only this, but last weekend saw Deliveroo take part in its own beach clean and local businesses such as Billy Hundreds are promoting day trippers to pick up the rubbish as they go.
All of these go hand in hand to help eradicate the problems we face by keeping our beaches clean and in turn stopping single-use plastics getting into our oceans, killing our local wildlife.
As your Member of Parliament, I will continue to lobby the government for measures to keep single-use plastics off our beaches and I know our council is also working hard, installing temporary bins and signage to prevent day-trippers from littering.
However, there is still work that needs to be done. I therefore implore each visitor to any of our excellent beaches to pick up a piece of litter and throw it in the bin.
Perhaps, if everyone does this, we can make every mile of our seafront litter-free and in the process, we can protect Southend’s image as a great seaside resort and the wildlife that relies on the sea to survive.