Let’s rethink our beach litter: Feed the fish!

Published Tuesday, 27th August 2019

Cllr Mulroney and Cllr Thompson with the fish sculpture at City Beach.

Visitors to Southend’s City Beach this bank holiday got a preview of a 9ft fish sculpture which is being constructed to alert people to the devastating effects of litter on the marine environment.

Cllr Mulroney, cabinet member for environment and planning, took the sculpture – which is nearing completion – to City Beach on Bank Holiday Monday as part of a litter pick she carried out with fellow Leigh Ward councillor, Cllr Ashley Thompson, and assisted by staff from Veolia.

The artwork, which doubles up as a bin, is being constructed by local sculptor, Dave Taylor, and will soon be completed and painted before being installed in a prominent position along the seafront. Although it will be removed during the winter season, it will be reassembled in the spring to catch the first of the high-season visitors.

Cllr Mulroney said: “I am delighted to see the sculpture taking shape so quickly. We couldn’t miss the opportunity to let visitors have a sneak preview during the litter pick.

“People of all ages responded really well to it. It’s a great way of getting people talking about beach litter. Several people had their photos taken with the fish and the children in particular liked to ‘pop in’ their plastic drinks bottles.

“In total, Ashley and I collected eight bags of rubbish in just two hours, in addition to the truck loads that Veolia were collecting. It was an extremely hot day and they did a magnificent job of keeping the bins emptied – of which there were many.

“We  also handed out rubbish bags to beach-goers so they could bag up their own rubbish. People were friendly and some gathered their rubbish right away and disposed of it.

“If this new sculpture – along with Veolia’s litter cube – can get people thinking about the impact of rubbish in our seas and on our beaches and change habits, then that can only be a positive for the environment.”

Any residents who are interested in volunteering to help with beach-cleaning operations – particularly during mornings and evenings on busy seafront days – are asked to email uk.southend-recycling@veolia.com or to visit www.southend.gov.uk/streetchampions for further information.