This is the 25th year the Marine Conservation Society has organised its Great British Beach Clean
Thousands of volunteers are being sought for the 25th Great British Beach Clean next month.
Run annually by the Marine Conservation Society (MCS), the event, which provides vital data to the charity on marine pollution around the UK coastline, will run from the 14-17 September.
The 2017 Great British Beach Clean saw almost 7,000 volunteer beach cleaners pick up record amounts of litter from 339 UK beaches – a staggering 718 bits of rubbish from every 100 metres cleaned. That was a 10% rise in the amount of beach litter picked up during the 2016 event.
Beach cleans take place from Cornwall to Cumbria, Denbighshire to County Down, Hampshire to the Highlands and all places in between. The event incorporates the Great Channel Islands Beach Clean and the Great Northern Irish Beach clean.
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Beach litter has steadily risen over the 24 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.
The MCS said this was almost certainly due to the charges at the checkout and shows the impact that behaviour change can have on beach litter.
In 2017, ‘on the go’ items made up 20% of all litter found on the UK’s beaches and 63% of all litter that comes from the public. MCS categorises cardboard cups, plastic cutlery, foil wrappers, straws, sandwich packets, lolly sticks, plastic bottles, drinks cans, glass bottles, plastic cups, lids and stirrers as ‘on the go’.
The charity says the figures highlight the nation’s lazy habits when it comes to littering, and that ‘the amount of litter suggests we’re treating the outdoors as a big dustbin, happy to dump at will rather than keep hold of our litter until we find a bin.’
Those interested in taking part in the Great British Beach Clean can sign up at www.mcsuk.org/greatbritishbeachclean or call 01989 566017.