Container Spill in Devon; what happened and what’s happening!

Last week, on Tuesday 27th October we were alerted to a beached shipping container that had fallen off a passing cargo ship and washed onto Bucks Mill beach in Devon. The container was one of 11 that fell off the ship, and are washing up on beaches in north Devon and Wales. This particular container held sanitary wear and medical debris. We heard that the contents – adult pads – were spilling all over the beach and neighbouring beaches. Some of the pads were still in their bags, thankfully saving them from spilling their contents, but other bags were ripped open on the rocks and by the waves, and were littering the coastline.

The salvage company arrived at Bucks Mill very quickly after the container was washed ashore, but volunteers were urgently needed to help contain the incident as much as possible. Due to a big storm, huge tides and large swells, it was integral that we get as much of the litter as possible off the beaches before it was washed back out to sea! 

Therefore, at 2 Minute HQ we reacted instantly! We put out posts on our social channels; Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, describing the disaster and rallied an army of eco-warrior volunteers! The Facebook post was shared hundreds of times, with messages of support and comments offering help flooding in across each channel. 

Early the next morning, on Wednesday 28th, a few members of our team left from The 2 Minute HQ to track the rubbish down! Claire, Jodie and Jaik missioned from beach to beach up the coast towards Bucks Mill, on the look out for the plastic sanitary wear. They shared what they found at each cove via Facebook Live and Instagram Stories, therefore letting volunteers know where their help was most needed! 

When they reached Abbotsham they were confronted by a tidal wave of plastic waste, and set about helping Oly from Project Planet and a team of other volunteers to clear up the medical debris. There were lots of amazing people already helping out, which was great to see.  

That day we also received reports that another container had washed up, but was instantly salvaged, further north in Lynmouth. This weekend another 2 containers washed up in south west Wales, and people are already joining forces to help clean up the spilled contents. 

We would really appreciate it if you, our 2 Minute Family, could let us know any first-hand information about where you’ve spotted (or not spotted) this litter along the coastline. That way, we can keep everyone who wants to help as informed and up to date as possible. 

So far, today we are aware that the rubbish has reached south west Wales, specifically at Langland, Llanelli, Limeslade Bay, Sker Beach near Porthcawl, Port Talbot, Rest Bay and Ogmore-By-Sea. Debris has also washed ashore as far south as Crooklets Beach in Bude, Cornwall, and Croyde, Speke’s Mill and Woolacombe in north Devon. Any remaining rubbish from the containers on the beaches in north Devon around Abbotsham, Peppercombe and Green Cliff is being washed ashore in shreds, so these areas would definitely benefit from a 2 minute beach clean too! 

If you decide to help out with the clean up, please TAKE CARE when at the beaches. Don’t take any risks, make sure you know what the tide is doing to avoid being cut off, maintain social distancing, wear gloves, waterproofs, wellies (and a hardhat if you’ve got one!) and wash your hands. 

Thank you again everyone. We couldn’t do what we do without each and every one of you! 


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