Making things on a beach: bamboo tongs

Instead of solving sudokus, why not making something useful for the environment?

Did you ever go to a beach so far away from everything else, so isolated, so hard to access, to find out it is littered anyway? That’s not unexpected: isolated places are gorgeous, but they have nobody that looks after them. Do you remember when #TrashTag was trendy? I might be a couple of years late but I decided to took the matter in my own hands anyway or at least do my part of picking up some bags of trash.

The bamboo tongs are very effective at picking up trash from the sand (also for relocating the occasional jellyfish, if needed). You’ll find out that if you can see trash on the sand surface, it means there will be (a ton of) more trash below. Bamboo is pretty common on the seaside, it’s sturdy, and the tongs are long enough to make me feel safe whatever I pick up.

Making the tongs is simple, but here is a step-by-step guide anyway. Be careful with sharp tools.
Find a bamboo stick with at least 2 uncracked sections, ideally around 2cm thick, at least 20cm long.
Cut it sideways so that you keep a “knot” about 2cm from the tip.

If your Swiss army knife has a reamer, it’s a good time to use it as a drill tip to make a hole. Do it about 2cm from the knot, on both sides of the bamboo.

Then with a knife make a cut at the side of the hole, pointing down the long end. The round hole will prevent the crack from going upwards.

You’ll end up with a chopstick-like bamboo strip, that you can discard.

Starting from the round hole again, cut diagonally. Try to cut in a straight line. Don’t overdo it and don’t rush it. Don’t cut the bottom away. Make several incremental passes. The bottom end of the tong should be almost flat.

Pinch the tong to check it is straight. Flatten the contact points so that the whole border touches each other.

That’s it. Don’t forget to bring a small bag with you; the best places to go don’t have trash bins, so a bag is always handy to clean after yourself, and with a simple tool you can also leave the place a little better than how you found it.