70-Year-Old Woman Cleans Up 52 Beaches in a Year “For Her Grandchildren”

“Action Nan” picked up all the plastic and other trash from a new beach every week for a year in hopes the next generation can enjoy them the way she did as a child

A 70-year-old British grandmother named Pat Smith spent 2018 cleaning up 52 of her local beaches, along 400-miles of coast.

After watching a documentary about plastic pollution, she wondered “why doesn’t someone do something about that?” and then realized she was that someone.

Smith, nicknamed “Action Nan,” spent at least two hours at each beach, picking up over 13,000 pieces of trash total, including pieces of plastic bottles, plastic food packaging, plastic cigarette filters and plastic fishing net.

Often other volunteers, including her grandchildren, join her in her efforts.

While she knows she’s not making a significant dent in the 150 million tons of plastic currently circulating in the world’s oceans, she hopes to inspire a larger movement, and she’s starting in her own “backyard,” in Cornwall, along the southern coast of the United Kingdom.

“I bother because I care,” she says in the video below. “I care enough for my grandchildren to want them to have a little taste of the wonder I’ve experienced.”

And she doesn’t plan on stopping anytime soon.

“While I can still touch my toes and pick stuff  off the floor, I won’t stop.”

Smith has also started a campaign called Last Straw Cornwall, which has inspired 600 local businesses to stop using plastic straws. Talk about the power of one!