Blue Planet II inspires record numbers to clean up Somerset beach

By: Clare Fischer
Date posted: 26 January 2018

The MCS Beachwatch team says they have BBC1’s Blue Planet II to thank for a record turnout at the winter clean of Sand Bay.

I’ve been cleaning Sand Bay for seven years, and I have never seen it so dirty or so many volunteers! It was brilliant to see so many bodies on the beach who cared for the area, wanting to do their bit in the fight against marine litter.

Lauren Eyles,
MCS Beachwatch Manager

191 volunteers descended on the North Somerset beach in January to take part in the MCS annual winter beach clean there.

Plastic litter items were once again the top finds with over 4,770 tiny bits of plastic and polystyrene collected and almost 3,000 plastic cotton bud sticks.

Our ‘on the go’ lifestyle was again plain to see with 144 caps and lids, 472 crisp packets, sandwich, sweet and lolly wrappers, 221 cutlery trays and straws and 80 drinks bottles

Lauren Eyles, MCS Beachwatch Manager, said on arrival at the beach it was obvious the winter storms had been battering the coastline: “There was lots of seaweed high up on the strandline and the sand dunes seemed far more eroded than usual.

“I’ve been cleaning Sand Bay for seven years, and I have never seen it so dirty, or so many volunteers! It was brilliant to see so many bodies on the beach who cared for the area, wanting to do their bit in the fight against marine litter. All of us could have easily stayed all day, still finding litter to remove.

“I asked a few people what their motivation for coming was and their response was ‘Blue Planet’! The series really has captured people’s attention, and it’s really starting to feel like people are starting to listen and take action.”

Harriet Robbins, from the MCS Beachwatch team, said they picked up a lot of rubbish: “The main culprit was plastic. 4,770 pieces were picked up and, in total, 13 bags of rubbish - that’s a lot of harmful stuff removed from this gorgeous beach.

“Keen volunteers came from far and wide to get stuck in – one was from Argentina, another from North Wales! When asked, ‘Why did you come today?’, everyone shouted back: ‘Blue Planet’!”

Last September the MCS Great British Clean attracted just short of 7,000 volunteer beach cleaners across the UK. You can get involved today by signing up to join the 2018 event either as a volunteer or as a beach clean organiser. Click on the links below.

Actions you can take

  1. Organise a beach clean
  2. Join a beach clean
  3. Help us stop the plastic tide
  4. Download the Great British Beach Clean Report 2017
  5. Visit the beachwatch website

Did you know?…

Every day millions of microplastics enter the sea from personal care products such as scrubs and toothpastes

To date, our beach cleans have removed 6 million pieces of litter

Since the carrier bag charge came in across the UK, the Great British Beach Clean has recorded 40% 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