Sign up now and join thousands of volunteers helping to turn the tide on UK beach litter

Richard Harrington By: Richard Harrington
Date posted: 19 July 2010

Sign up now and join thousands of volunteers helping to turn the tide on UK beach litter The Marine Conservation Society (MCS) urgently needs volunteers to take part in the UK’s biggest beach clean and litter survey which takes place in September.

Sign up now and join thousands of volunteers helping to turn the tide on UK beach litter The Marine Conservation Society (MCS) urgently needs volunteers to take part in the UK’s biggest beach clean and litter survey which takes place in September. Over 4,500 volunteers took part in Beachwatch Big Weekend 2009, cleaning 397 beaches. MCS is hoping that this year’s Beachwatch will be even bigger and better, and that more of the UK’s beaches will be cleaned and surveyed. The tide of litter washing up on our shores is not just unpleasant to look at; it can harm and kill some of our best-loved marine animals. Many species of marine wildlife including seabirds, seals, dolphins and whales mistake marine litter for food or become tangled in it; resulting in horrific injuries and sometimes death. Emma Snowden, MCS Litter Projects Co-ordinator says: “If you care about our amazing marine wildlife and are concerned about the growing tide of litter in the UK, this is your chance to take part in MCS Beachwatch Big Weekend and make a real difference… The information you collect will help us tackle the main sources of litter and campaign to reduce the most common items ending up on our beaches and killing wildlife. “The MCS surveys show a 75% increase in the amount of beach litter since the first Beachwatch in 1994, with plastic waste increasing by a massive 121%. In 2009 alone, over 12,000 cotton bud sticks were found on UK beaches, along with 16,000 drinks bottles, 20,000 lids and 17,000 items of fishing litter. The MCS Beachwatch Big Weekend provides a simple and effective way in which everyone can help tackle the relentless wave of rubbish washing onto our beaches and at sea. “Volunteers never cease to be amazed at the amount of the litter they find on their beaches. It’s shocking to think what you could feel between your toes, apart from sand. We want more volunteers to take part in Beachwatch Big Weekend 2010 to ensure it continues to be the biggest and most influential project in the fight against beach litter in the UK. “said Emma Snowden. UK governments have promised to develop an action plan to tackle marine litter - plans MCS would like to see published by December 2011, to ensure governments turn their promises into action. A petition to keep up the pressure to produce an action plan can be signed at www.mcsuk.org Once again MCS is extremely grateful to SeaFrance Dover-Calais Ferries for funding and taking part in the Beachwatch campaign. Robin Wilkins, MD of SeaFrance says: “Along with members of SeaFrance staff and local volunteers, I have been involved in regular beach cleans and surveys at Kingsdown. It’s been shocking to see the levels of litter on the beach. The easy option is to just leave your litter behind rather than take it home with you, but the litter left behind impacts our coastline for generations. SeaFrance is absolutely committed through its support as lead sponsor of MCS Beachwatch to help combat this problem. “Beachwatch Big Weekend 2010 takes place over the 18th and 19th September. Register online here or telephone the litter team on 01989 567807. “

Actions you can take

  1. Visit the beachwatch website
  2. Join a beach clean
  3. Download the Great British Beach Clean Report 2017
  4. Organise a beach clean

Did you know?…

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is thought to be 6 times the size of the UK

Litter has increased by 135% since 1994, with plastics increasing by a staggering 180%

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

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