Pupils go wild over discarded rubbish

Marine Conservation Society volunteer Michelle Duffy (back, left) with staff and pupils from Northre

Marine Conservation Society volunteer Michelle Duffy (back, left) with staff and pupils from Northrepps Primary School, who carried out a beach clean at nearby village Overstrand. Picture: KAREN BETHELL - Credit: Archant

Eco-friendly pupils at Northrepps Primary School have been showing off their green credentials, by helping pick up rubbish from the beach at neighbouring village Overstrand.

Marine Conservation Society volunteer Michelle Duffy (back, left) with staff and pupils from Northre

Marine Conservation Society volunteer Michelle Duffy (back, left) with staff and pupils from Northrepps Primary School, who carried out a beach clean at nearby village Overstrand. Picture: KAREN BETHELL - Credit: Archant

Under the guidance of Marine Conservation Society (MCS) volunteer Michelle Duffy, ten youngsters, their teacher Kate MacMillan and teaching assistants Kirsty Lipton, Toni Page and Michelle Uddin collected debris ranging from balloons and plastic bags, to discarded fishing line and food wrappers.

Before carrying out the beach clean, the five-to-seven-year-olds attended a whole school assembly taken by Ms Duffy, who explained about the dangers of discarded rubbish to wildlife and the environment and told pupils about the work of the organisation.

After signing up as a MCS 'Sea Champion' three years ago, Bacton-born Ms Duffy, who works as a checkout assistant at Sainsbury's, North Walsham, was inspired to begin studying for an Open University degree in environmental science.

As well as organising regular beach cleans at Walcott, Bacton, Sea Palling and Mundesley, she also co-ordinates four MCS Beachwatch scheme surveys for each site every year.

Marine Conservation Society volunteer Michelle Duffy (back, left) with staff and pupils from Northre

Marine Conservation Society volunteer Michelle Duffy (back, left) with staff and pupils from Northrepps Primary School, who carried out a beach clean at nearby village Overstrand. Picture: KAREN BETHELL - Credit: Archant


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These allow the MCS to monitor the amount and type of rubbish found on beaches and last year saw an army of more than 6,000 volunteers pick up 3,298 pieces of litter per kilometre of beach surveyed.

'Growing up so close to the beach, it makes you realise the impact litter can have,' Ms Duffy said. 'And, by getting children interested in looking after the environment, they will hopefully gain knowledge that they can take with them into adulthood.'

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Acorn class teacher Mrs MacMillan said pupils, who also took part in environment-themed classroom activities, had been fascinated to learn about the impact rubbish in the sea and on the beach could have on the environment.

She added: 'It has been a wonderful experience for the children and taking part in a practical session has given them a real idea of what it is all about.'

Marine Conservation Society volunteer Michelle Duffy (back, left) with staff and pupils from Northre

Marine Conservation Society volunteer Michelle Duffy (back, left) with staff and pupils from Northrepps Primary School, who carried out a beach clean at nearby village Overstrand. Picture: KAREN BETHELL - Credit: Archant

Six-year-old pupil Paige Edwards said: 'I think that is really important not to leave rubbish on the beach as if you do, animals might get ill and they could die.'

To find out more about the Marine Conservation Society, visit www.mcsuk.org

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