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May 2019 - The Solent welcomes the man litter picking his way around Britain

On the 22nd of May Bird Aware Solent, an initiative that helps to raise awareness of coastal birds that spend the winter on the Solent, teamed up with a Keep Britain Tidy ambassador, Wayne Dixon, and 'The Final Straw Solent' to litter pick a beach in Eastney, Portsmouth.

Wayne and his dog, Koda, have an amazing story to tell - they are walking the entire coastline of Britain, bagging rubbish as they go.  Recently the well documented effect of waste in our oceans has helped create armies of individuals and communities who are combatting the surge of litter and Wayne is a great example of this.

Wayne has dedicated the past three years of his life to clearing up other people's rubbish after setting off from his home in Lancashire.  Since reaching Hampshire he has linked up with The Final Straw Solent to do some targeted litter collections and share his story.  The Final Straw Solent are a Community Interest Company founded as a direct result of plastic pollution that is sadly so common on our beaches and cities today.  Lissie and Bianca manage the group and have received a dedicated following of like-minded people since setting up.  The Final Straw organises regular litter picks across the Solent which are publicised on their website, and Facebook page - search Final Straw.

Inspired by Wayne and The Final Straw, Bird Aware Solent met them on a popular area of coastline to help get it back to looking how it should.  Wayne and Koda's journey started back in February 2016 and they have now walked 3700 miles, passing through countless beaches, villages and towns.  Wayne comments, 'Litter isn't just an eyesore, it's a genuine threat to animals, birds and marine life.  I have seen small mammals trapped in disposable coffee cups and witnessed porpoises and birds along beaches, some entangled in rope and fishing line.' 

However, there is hope.  Wayne explains, 'When I started out on my journey I would walk through big cities and regularly collect 10 or 15 bags of litter.  In the past six months I've seen a dramatic change, I recently walked through a city and only collected half a bag'.  This is an encouraging sign.

Councillor Seán Woodward, Chairman of the Partnership for Urban South Hampshire (PUSH), which oversees Bird Aware Solent remarked, 'The dangers of litter in the ocean are very real, especially with microplastics entering our food chain. The influence and positive effect individuals and local groups, like Wayne and The Final Straw, are having on the environment cannot be understated.'

Between Lissie and Wayne, they have collected countless cotton buds, fast food packaging and bottle tops, but every now and again something pops up that makes them wonder 'how did that get there?'.  Wayne once found a cash till in a field and last week Lissie picked up the set of dentures on the Weston Shore beach near Southampton.  This litter pick yielded 55kg's of rubbish, a remarkable amount given the size of the area that was covered.

For more information on Wayne and Koda's journey, follow them on Facebook and Twitter by searching - Wayne and Koda's great British Litterpick.