Charity plans record-breaking beach clean

The Marine Conservation Society hopes its 25th Great British Beach Clean in September will be its biggest yet.

The charity is calling for volunteers to take part in clean-ups across the country during the weekend of September 14-17.

During last year’s Great British Beach Clean, almost 7,000 volunteers cleaned 339 beaches and picked up more than 255,000 pieces of litter – a 10% rise in the amount of rubbish on UK beaches compared to 2016.

Lizzie Prior, MCS beach and river clean officer, said: “Cleaning 339 individual beaches last year was a fabulous achievement by our volunteers. But we know that it’s only the tip of the iceberg.

“There are hundreds of beaches around our coasts that have never been cleaned and surveyed – and it’s the collection of this data that is so important to getting even more positive changes implemented than have already been achieved in the last year or so.”

Changes over the years include new charges for single-use plastic carrier bags – which resulted in a 28% drop in the number of bags found on UK beaches – plus a ban on microbeads in personal care products and action on plastic content and straws.

Prior added: “We would love to see well over 500 beaches cleaned this year. If you live near a beach or have a favourite that you regularly visit, why not show it some love and organise a beach clean and survey.

“The data you collect could result in further legislative change to help our oceans breathe plastic-free.”

The 2018 Great British Beach Clean is the second one to be sponsored by Waitrose, which will ban the sale of plastic straws in store from September.

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