With Timbil and Geger from Lifepatch as well as Sabhyata from Kharkana in Switzerland after the Biofabbing Convergence at CERN, we decided to ask Roger and Shay of the Montreux Clean Beach Project to share their methods of quantifying trash on waterfronts with us. The idea is, the more quantitative the litter counts, the more convincing the reason to change how the litter ends up on our beaches in the first place.
We met up at the small beach in Clarens, plage du Pierrier. It was a beautiful day – a bit hot already in the morning. We were instructed to bring gloves, and buckets – and hats and sunscreen and mobile phones for the event. Some friends from hackuarium joined, as well as new friends from the region.
First, Roger explained how the beach clean up and the reporting method is compatible with and based on the OSPAR, and European Environment Agency Marine Litter Watch classification systems. Then he explained that we report the length of the beach, not the area of the beach.
We combed about 1m from where the water met the pebbly beach, through the entire length of the beach. We looked for bigger items, but small items as small as a single ball of styrofoam that came from a cup or a box. Even with a small beach like this one, it took several of us, more than an hour.
We then spread the contents of our buckets on a special tarp that Roger and Shay uses, with a numbered grid painted on it. The idea is to sort through the trash, and put similar materials together in one of the numbered grids on the tarp. There were many questions on how to group the trash. This grouping took some experience to have a reasonable number of categories, and not over categorize the items. The best would be to study the categories available in the app of the Montreux Clean Beach Project, and use this as a guideline to group the trash.
Then we counted the number of items in each group, and called them out, so Timbil could put it into the app. When it was all registered, it gets tabulated and you can find the data also on their webpage.
After the clean-up, Roger and Shay invited us to the sauvetage de Montreux (rescue boat house of Montreux) for a pot-luck BBQ. It was a little fresh, but we also jumped into the water as well. First BBQ and swim for the year in Switzerland!
More detailed information from Montreux Clean Beach Project as a presentation/ report of its activities from 2015-2016: