Lunar Afternoon: Surfers Against Sewage – The real heroes in the fight to clean Britain’s beaches

In mid January 2020, I was asked to help curate a series of afternoon film programs, for the London Climate Change Festival. These film sessions were to run through April, under the tag of “Lunar Afternoons”, with the aim of entertaining, whilst encouraging positive debate around climate and environmental issues. But, as we all are now painfully aware, the world hasn’t really stayed on track.
So over the past few weeks, with the original plan in tatters, it’s been back to the drawing board for all of us involved in the festival. One of the first Lunar Afternoons, was to pivot around Ocean and Mountain films (more of those another day). As part of this, I’d been in touch with Sarah Boyks, a London rep for Surfers Against Sewage (SAS for short), who was due to give a talk on the work they do. 
Sarah, a self confessed sustainability nerd, joined SAS in 2019 as a regional rep and has been helping them to spread the word in the London area.

“Of course it’s not just surfers who care passionately about our coastlines — our members are swimmers, dog walkers, paddleboarders, beach cleaners, kite surfers, sandcastle builders, ice cream eaters and sun bathers too. We protect it because we love it and that’s where we feel most at home.“

SAS, began as a response by the surfing community to the dreadful state of our beaches. Over the years the movement grew and now includes a large team of reps and volunteers, all around the country, spreading the idea of people and community power. Thanks to their continued and tireless campaigning, the UK now enjoys some of the cleanest beaches in Europe. 

Some of SAS’s great achievements over the years have included a major reduction in sewage levels, as well as fighting back against the constant mountains of disposable plastic. Their recent surveys, taken from collected rubbish on beach cleans, have highlighted the extent to which large brands, such as Coca Cola and McDonalds, have contributed to plastic pollution.

We’re a community dedicated to the protection of oceans, waves, beaches and wildlife. We fought long and hard to protect what we love and we won’t stop until it’s completely clean, safe and protected for everyone, forever.”

Sarah has kindly made up a pdf, highlighting the work that she and the team of reps, are involved in. Please follow them on social media and if you can, get involved. We can all make a difference, one piece at a time.

Adrian Frearson

Instagram @surfersagainstsewage @surfersagainstsewage_london

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