PPE mask litter on coast path in Cornwall Natasha Ewins

No matter where you live across the UK, you can help keep beaches beautiful and seas clean

Great British Beach Clean, or Source to Sea: Litter Quest

The Great British Beach Clean

Take part in this year's week-long Great British Beach Clean, running through the third week of September.

Our annual event sees thousands of people heading out to clear litter and record what they find.

Last year our volunteers found an average of 425 items of litter for every 100 metres of beach surveyed!

To get involved in a beach clean, follow our guide for schools and groups. You can sign up to organise your own clean, or see if there are any happening in your area which your school can join.

Volunteers at the Great British Beach Clean on Hove BeachBilly Barraclough

Credit: Billy Barraclough

Source to Sea: Litter Quest

If your school isn’t near the coast, no problem! That’s where our Source to Sea: Litter Quest comes in.

Most litter that ends up on our beaches or in the sea starts its journey in villages, towns and cities miles from the coast.

Last year, 70% of litter picks taking place on streets and in parks found PPE litter, and 99% found drinks containers.

Taking part is simple: download the education pack at the bottom of this page to find the survey form and all the advice you need. Check out our Source to Sea page for more information.

Wet wipe on beach in Hayle Cornwall Natasha Ewins

Credit: Natasha Ewins

Why get involved?

It’s not just about keeping our beaches and streets looking good. Our coasts and seas are a haven for an incredible variety of wildlife which are put at risk by pollution. To keep our seas and the animals in them safe, we need your help.

All of the data you collect on the beach, on your street or in a local park helps us campaign for change, which means that your school can help turn the tide on ocean pollution.

You can run your own beach clean or Litter Quest anytime throughout the year, but take part during the third week of September to join a community of thousands of people all working to clean up our streets and beaches.

We’ve used data collected in previous years to make the case for the 5p carrier bag charges across the UK, and are campaigning for Deposit Return Schemes for all types of drinks containers. What’s more, we know policies like the 5p carrier bag charges work. Since their introduction from 2011 in Wales, we’ve seen a 55% drop in the bags we’re finding on beaches. The more data we collect, the more policies which we can push for to make beach and ocean pollution a thing of the past.

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Our education resources

We're encouraging schools to take part so students can see the impact of litter on our environment first hand.

Our education pack links to learning in Geography, Science, Social Science, English, I.T., PSHCE and Maths. It’s a great opportunity to run an innovative cross-curricula project across the week, building on knowledge and skills at each stage.

Download our taster pack of education resources below. It includes everything you need to know and all the resources you need to take part in the litter survey, as well as cross-curricula activity suggestions.

To make things simpler for you, we have also compiled health and safety guidance below.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact the education team at [email protected]

PPE masks over beach Matt Barnes

Credit: Matt Barnes