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ITV at Hunstanton beach north promenade filming Anglia News programme about waste litter in live broadcast

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Last Thursday afternoon, after enjoying a gentle stroll along the beach in front of the north promenade, it came as a pleasant surprise to find an ITV film crew putting the finishing touches to an Anglia News programme, which was broadcast live from Hunstanton that evening.

Camera man Tony Aldous was the first person to recognise me from my involvement over many years with Norwich City FC.

Seconds later David Whiteley was telling me how impressed he was to see 'Reis Leming Way' looking as good today as it did ten years ago, when he presented a BBC Look East TV programme about the USAF 67th Special Operations Squadron, which included a ceremony naming the footpath.

Hunstanton cliffs October 1, 2021, photo by Ann McKimm.
Hunstanton cliffs October 1, 2021, photo by Ann McKimm.

Before he was called upon to rehearse the closing scene of the day's filming, David just had time to tell me that the theme of the programme would be the millions of tons of waste that end up in the world's oceans, via our rivers and beaches.

The programme did not pull any punches when it came the disastrous impact litter can have on all kinds of wildlife, whether the creatures most at risk live on land or in water.

When discussing the programme with my very good friend David Jones, we agreed that what really impressed us was the effort made by local authorities in tackling the waste problem by providing plenty of litter bins. However, we were both disappointed by the failure of too many people to use the bins; or better still to take their rubbish home with them!

Turnstone: rubbish bins overflowing.
Turnstone: rubbish bins overflowing.

This is often necessary when the bins are overflowing, which can be the case when visitors are attracted to the coast in large numbers due to exceptionally hot weather.

By using the 'Lookout' in the Esplanade Gardens, and The Green in front of the Golden Lion as predominant locations, the programme emphasised the natural charm and beauty of Hunstanton, which certainly deserves to be free from litter.

The involvement of school children, presumably from Smithdon High, in safely collecting items of rubbish, was sensible in getting the message across to a younger audience.

Hunstanton cliffs by Debbie Harrington in April 2020.
Hunstanton cliffs by Debbie Harrington in April 2020.

The same was true of filming at the Sea Life Sanctuary and the RSPCA Wildlife Hospital, when describing the pain and suffering caused to animals by the failure of humans to dispose of waste responsibly.

David Jones and I admitted to being shocked when it came to revealing the length of time it takes for certain everyday items to biodegrade.

For example, it can take 80 years for a crisp packet and over 400 years in the case of a plastic bottle! This is surely something that should make people of any age think more carefully about safe disposal of such objects.

With this in mind I would urge everyone to make use of their local supermarket's offer to recycle those items that will end up being buried, or incinerated, if they are consigned to a black, or even a green bin...

John Maiden

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