LOCAL businesses and individuals took part in a beach clean at Blackpool Sands, near Dartmouth, and discussed ways to reduce plastic pollution.

Tia Bryant, of Visit South Devon, which initiated the clean-up event, said: “At first glance, the beach appeared relatively free of litter.

“However, it wasn’t until we started searching that we discovered a surprising amount of debris, including coffee cups, sugar sachets, tin foil, cigarette butts, and crisp packets. But the primary culprits were minuscule pieces of waste known as micro-plastics, likely carried onto the beach from the sea.

“We also stumbled upon some more unusual items, including underwear, plastic toy parts, and cable ties — either discarded by individuals or washed ashore by the tide.”

After the beach clean, event organisers held a workshop hosted by The 2 Minute Foundation, where participants gained insights and tips for leading more environmentally conscious lives. Tia added: “The workshop commenced with a thought-provoking discussion about the numerous plastic-based items we use in our daily routines, such as hairbrushes, showers, and car keys. It was eye-opening to realize the extent of our plastic consumption. While some items like cars or phone chargers are difficult to eliminate entirely, there are undoubtedly numerous ways to reduce our everyday plastic usage.”

At the workshop The 2 Minute Foundation said beach cleans trigger the release of happy hormones, including dopamine; that plastic never truly decomposes - it breaks down into smaller particles called micro and nano-plastics, which find their way into our water, food, and even the air we breathe; plastic production and pollution rank as the leading cause of global warming, followed by agricultural farming and transport; and recovering all the plastic currently in existence would obviate the need to produce new “virgin” plastics.

They encouraged people to spend two minutes thinking about how to reduce plastic use, for individuals maybe by preparing their own lunch for work rather than buying single-use meal deals, and for businesses providing reusable coffee cups and water bottles for staff.

Tia added: “The workshop prompted profound self-reflection. Our commitment to sustainability fuels our desire to make a positive impact.

“We sought the expertise of The 2 Minute Foundation to help with this event, a charity dedicated to the idea that even two minutes of effort can bring about significant change.”