ST Agnes based eco-action charity Surfers Against Sewage has launched a new campaign to inspire people to walk ten miles in the places they love and clean them up.

The Million Mile Clean has been created in response to the pandemic, and connects your beach, street, river and mountain cleaning action.

Running throughout the charity aims to inspire, empower and support 100,000 volunteers walking ten miles whilst cleaning the places they love. It will be the biggest and most impactful clean up event ever!

100,000 volunteers walking ten miles each would amount to one million miles.

According to new research:

  • Over half of Brits (54%) think COVID-19 has led to an increase in plastic pollution
  • Almost two-thirds (59%) have seen more waste in their area over the last 12 months.
  • 51% say they see more plastic on UK beaches than wildlife
  • 41% Brits feel their mental health has deteriorated as a result of lockdown

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Surfers Against Sewage hope the campaign reflects and celebrates a national mood of hope and optimism as the country emerges from a dark winter spent in lockdown.

"Now more than ever, it is crucial for us all to reconnect with the outdoors and the Million Mile Clean provides an opportunity for you to prioritise your health whilst also creating a positive impact on your environment," said the charity in a statement.

Hugo Tagholm, Chief Executive of Surfers Against Sewage, commented: “The ocean is under threat and we are running out of time to save it.

"We want to inspire an army of ocean activists to join the cause and put an end to plastic pollution in the UK. After more than a year of isolation, social distancing and reduced physical activity, the Million Mile Beach Clean reconnects communities with the environment and provides numerous benefits to mental health and physical wellbeing. Sign up and get involved today and together we can make a difference.”

People can organise or take part in cleans happening at the beach, rivers, mountain and on city streets – whichever is more local to you. The charity sayd it wants to see people from all walks of life joining in, whether that’s on sand dunes, up river banks or on the roadside.

"We are calling on individuals, schools, organisations, clubs and local businesses to sign up, get involved and commit to covering 10 miles of cleans in 2021. Are you in?," said the charity

To find your local event, set up a clean or for more info, visit the website here.

Track your cleans via the Strava Club: ‘Surfers Against Sewage: Million Mile Clean’:

Whilst the initiative runs throughout 2021, the first week of action will take place between the 15th and 23rd of May.

Several notable organisations and individuals are supporting the campaign including the Outdoor Swimming Society, ex-professional surfer and mental health advocate Laura Crane, diver and biologist Gillian Burke and wildlife presenter Lizzie Daly.

Gillian Burke, wildlife presenter and biologist, said: “Making the connection between mental health and conservation is key in mobilising communities in the right way and the Million Mile Beach Clean does just that. 100,000 volunteers, each cleaning 10 miles of beach or river or street or mountain – the impact speaks for itself. It’s ambitious, it’s physical, I’m in!”