I went to a beach clean-up with Sea Shepherd and Architects
Grab a bucket.
The beach down by Brighton Marina looks pristine. White, grey and brown stones nestle against each other, worn smooth by the rhythm of the tide, stretching all the way down to pale blue waters where sailing boats skim the horizon. Architects frontman Sam Carter flips a pebble with his foot and discovers a congealed white lump that looks like misshapen dirty soap.
“This is palm oil,” he tells us, screwing up his face in disgust. “It’s from the Amazon, and I guess it’s a cheaper version of oil, but they’re basically wiping out orangutans’ homes. It’s washed up all over Brighton’s seafront. There’s been loads of warnings because it’s really poisonous to dogs, and it can kill them.’”
We’re at a beach clean-up organised by marine wildlife protection organisation Sea Shepherd, and as Sam carries on turning rocks, 50 or so volunteers do the same around him, uncovering numerous globs of the grease, plus vast amounts of bottle caps, corks, plastic and other miscellaneous items you would never realise lurked beneath. The frontman has been an ambassador for the group for the last two years, and this is his seventh clean-up.
“There are so many little bits of litter,” he observes ruefully. “It really surprises me, because this is Brighton, and I feel like everyone’s so proud of it. No one fucking thinks.”