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Beachwatch Big Weekend 2013 results

Results of the UK's biggest beach clean and survey

Beachwatch Big weekend - UK's largest beach clean and survey

MCS Beachwatch Big Weekend is the biggest national volunteer beach clean-up and survey in the UK. Over the weekend of the 20th and 23rd of September 2013, 254 beaches were cleaned and 4083 people went to their local beach to make a big difference.


What we found

  • More litter than ever before on British beaches - 2,309 items of litter found on every kilometre cleaned.

  • Our beaches are becoming coastal dumping grounds and we need more people to act now and either join a regular beach clean or make lifestyle changes to help stop the litter getting there in the first place.   

  • Plastic pieces are once again a real issue - these are tiny bits of plastic that have broken off larger items or have been in the sea for possibly decades, becoming smaller and smaller and more dangerous to marine wildlife.

Weird finds

2013 was a vintage year for finding strange things on beaches! Among the usual finds like cigarette butts and fishing line, our volunteers found half a TV, a French bullet-proof vest, a pack of bacon, a brass candlestick, some plastic bird feet, a birdcage, a bath plug, half a canoe and a set of dentures!

Top finds

Top of the finds was once again plastic pieces. These are tiny bits of plastic that have broken off larger items or have been in the sea for possibly decades and become smaller and smaller.

This year we also picked up lots of lids and caps. However, despite it being a really warm summer, we saw less crisp, sweets and lolly wrappers and fewer plastic bottles. There’s continued good news, too, for sewage related debris – there’s still less of it about after we asked people, in 2011, to stop flushing things down the loo that should go in the bin.

Images from beachwatch big weekend 2012

What can YOU do about all this litter?

Our beaches and seas are being overwhelmed with rubbish and YOU can help.

  • Register for an MCS beach clean.

  • Tell a friend and spread the word about MCS and our beach surveys.

  • Reduce, re-use, recycle.

But isn't it 2014?

Don't worry - you have the right page! It just takes a while for us to collate and analyse the data from the September beach clean, so although it's 2014 the results are from September 2013.

Read other reports and downloads.

Find a beachclean event on our Beachwatch pagesGet involved

We have two big beachclean events coming up to get involved with

Big Beach Clean up - 24th to 30th April 2014

Beachwatch Big Weekend - 19th to 22nd Sept 2014

Don't worry if you can't make those dates, you can can get involved with other beachcleans all year round. Check out for more details


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