The UK’s leading marine charity, the Marine Conservation Society (MCS), is looking for volunteers to get on board with the UK’s biggest beach clean event.
The Great British Beach Clean is the only UK-wide beach clean event that not only spruces up hundreds of beaches around the coast but records litter finds too.
It is taking place from September 15 - 18 and is the only UK-wide beach clean event that not only spruces up hundreds of beaches around the coast but records litter finds too.
This year, the Great British Beach Clean in England is being sponsored by Waitrose which is supporting MCS’ year round beach clean programme.
In 2016, 268,384 individual pieces of litter were picked up by just under 6,000 volunteers who cleaned up over 360 beaches.
In 2016 tiny bits of plastic and polystyrene were the most frequently found litter items on UK beaches. But although fewer plastic bags were found, there was a 50 per cent rise in the amount of balloon related litter compared to the previous year and volunteer pickers found more drinks container caps and lids too – up four percent on 2015.
Beach litter has steadily risen over the 23 years since MCS began recording it. However, there was some good news last year because the number of single-use plastic bags found on UK beaches almost halved between 2015 and 2016. MCS says this was almost certainly due to the charges at the checkout and shows the impact that behaviour change can have on beach litter.
Lizzie Prior, MCS Beach and River Clean Project Officer, said: “Taking part in the Great British Beach Clean really can make a difference. Plastic drinks bottles have consistently been in the Top 10 of items found on UK beaches and that’s why we’re pushing for deposit return schemes.”
Cleaning and surveying a beach only takes a couple of hours at most. Each beach has a coordinator, who explains how to fill in a simple data form, and then it’s just a case of grabbing a litter picker and a bin bag and filling it up.
Sign up to a clean near you at www.mcsuk.org/waitrose or call 01989 566017.