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Charity calls for volunteers to get down and dirty on UK beaches

Authored by Mary
Posted: Wednesday, July 9, 2014 - 00:31

The UK’s leading marine charity, the Marine Conservation Society (MCS), says recent figures showing the highest amounts of litter on British beaches in 20 years have prompted it to launch a mass beach participation event The Great British Beach Clean.

The charity is looking for volunteers to put their names forward in July, ready to make this the biggest event of its kind in September.

Plastic bottles and carrier bags, condoms, 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!

The charity says that with so many people choosing to take their holidays abroad, we must give attention to the wealth of beaches on our doorstep. MCS says it hopes the Great British Beach Clean will reconnect people with the coastline to ensure it is a clean, safe place for this generation, and for those to come.

Last year, the MCS annual litter clean and survey found on average 2,309 pieces of litter for every kilometre of the coast its volunteers cleaned – a record high since surveys began in 2004.

The charity says that between 19 and 22 September 2014 it hopes to make Britain's beaches clean for one weekend with 10,000 volunteers on over 400 beaches picking up litter and recording what it is and where it came from.

For the first time this year, volunteers will be asked especially 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 reaching our beaches.

MCS Beachwatch officer, Lauren Eyles, said: “We want everyone to visit their favourite or their local beach to give it a clean, and help break the record for the greatest number of beaches cleaned in one event. We're aiming to clean at least 400 beaches for our 'Great British Beach Clean' this September, and do a litter survey on all of them which will give us valuable data to help reduce litter in future.

“Beach litter is a serious environmental problem, 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 if we turned the tide on litter.

"As a special incentive, the first 500 volunteers to register will be entered into a prize draw and two lucky people will receive Love2Shop vouchers worth £50 each.”

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.