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Charity seeks volunteers for UK-wide beach litter count

Marine Conservation Society

Marine Conservation Society launches registration for the ‘Great British Beach Clean’

The UK’s leading marine charity, the Marine Conservation Society (MCS), is looking for volunteers to register now for a citizen science project that involves a trip to the beach! The Great British Beach Clean (18-21 September) is the only UK-wide beach clean that not only spruces up hundreds of beaches around the coast but records the litter finds as part of a global beach clean event.

Marine Conservation Society

Gwithian by Natasha Ewins

Plastic bottles and carrier bags, nappies, balloons, and tiny plastic pieces can be found on almost every beach in the UK – either washed up, blown there or dropped. Our beaches have never been so filthy and most of the litter found can be traced back to us – the general public!

“Beach litter has steadily risen over the two decades we’ve been recording it on UK beaches,” says MCS Beachwatch Officer, Charlotte Coombes, “Last year’s Great British Beach Clean attracted almost 5,500 volunteers to over 300 beaches. It’s a citizen science project that has become the most respected and long standing beach litter survey in the UK.”

In 2014 tiny bits of plastic were the most frequently found litter items on UK beaches. There was a 6.4% rise in beach litter between 2013 and 2014 with wet wipes having the  biggest increase at almost 50%.

“Taking part in the Great British Beach Clean really can make a difference. In previous years when we’ve highlighted increases in dog poo bags and sewage related debris found on beaches we have seen drops in numbers subsequently. We hope we’ll see fewer wet wipes in 2015 following our mini-campaign showing why these material squares should go in the bin not the loo,” says Charlotte Coombes.

MCS says 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 with rubbish!

Volunteers are also asked to record any branded items they find, to enable MCS to approach specific manufacturers and retailers and look at ways they can work with them to reduce the amount of rubbish from their products reaching our beaches.

Marine Conservation Society

Photo by Natasha Ewins

“Beach litter is a serious environmental problem,” says Charlotte Coombes. “But the solution is in our hands. The first step is to register as a volunteer. We want the ‘Great British Beach Clean’ weekend to offer a snapshot of what the future could look like for the British seaside by reducing the amount of litter that reaches our shores”.

MCS beach litter projects are supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery. Clara Govier, Head of Charities at People’s Postcode Lottery, says, “It’s really important for everyone to learn about the dangers of marine litter and I’m delighted that players of People’s Postcode Lottery are supporting the Marine Conservation Society who are tackling this important cause. I would urge anyone who has the time to spare to take part in this beach clean.”

The Great British Beach Clean – be part of the biggest and most influential fight against marine litter in the UK. Find out more at  http://www.mcsuk.org/greatbritishbeachclean or telephone 01989 566017.

About thepaddlerezine (577 Articles)
Editor of The Paddler ezine and Publisher of Stand Up Paddle Mag UK and WindsurfingUK magazines

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