Environment Minister gets handy with a litter picker

Date posted: 16 September 2017

Thérèse Coffey, the Environment Minister, and MP for the Suffolk Coastal constituency, joined us today to clean up Aldeburgh beach as part of this weekend’s Great British Beach Clean.

The Minister is no stranger to beach cleans, and she does one somewhere in her constituency every year - last year Dr Coffey was among a group of volunteers who cleaned up and surveyed nearby Southwold beach.

The beachclean at Aldeburgh today was run together with staff and volunteers from the Suffolk Wildlife Trust, who found a lot of smaller plastic items, sweet wrappers and bottle caps and lids on what appeared at first sight to be a very clean beach.

Dr Chris Tuckett, MCS Director of Programmes said: “We’re delighted to welcome the Minister along to this survey and clean-up, as we need to keep the issue of marine litter at the forefront of Defra’s thinking. Dr Coffey has been a Defra minister during development of the recent legislation to ban microbeads and with Scotland giving the go ahead to a Deposit Return Scheme just a few weeks ago, Westminster must now seriously consider introducing the same. Dr Coffey is no stranger to the problems our beaches are facing and it’s great that she’s getting stuck in and seeing the problems first hand.”

Speaking at the clean-up, Environment Minister Thérèse Coffey said: “We all have a role to play in tackling litter that blights our beaches and threatens our oceans, and it’s fantastic to see organisations like the Marine Conservation Society bringing communities together for such a great cause. “We’re making great strides – our 5p carrier bag charge has taken nine billion plastic bags out of circulation and our microbeads ban will help to prevent wildlife from ingesting harmful plastic. I’m committed to doing all I can to protect our precious oceans from plastic pollution.”

This year, the Great British Beach Clean in England is being sponsored by Waitrose who are supporting MCS’ year round beach clean programme.

MCS beach litter projects are also supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery.

Actions you can take

  1. Visit the beachwatch website
  2. Organise a beach clean
  3. Join a beach clean
  4. Download the Great British Beach Clean Report 2019

Did you know?…

It’s estimated that one rubbish truck load of plastic litter enters the ocean every minute

MCS launched its Beachwatch programme in 1994

Since the carrier bag charge came in across the UK, the Great British Beach Clean has recorded almost 50% fewer bags on beaches

Why not join a beach clean ... or organise one?

To date, our beach clean volunteers have removed 6 million pieces of litter from our beaches and collected marine litter data to support our campaigns for cleaner seas and beaches.

Learn more and join a beach clean