How you can help turn the tide on litter along our beaches

Your chance to clean up our beaches
Your chance to clean up our beaches

An army of volunteers is being recruited to clean up our beaches as part of a national fight against marine litter.

Four beaches on the Durham Coast between Sunderland and Hartlepool, as well and Marsden Bay in South Tyneside, have all been chosen for a litter blitz as part of the Marine Conservation Society’s (MCS) Great British Beach Clean.

Picture of the Durham Coast by Joe Cornish

Picture of the Durham Coast by Joe Cornish

The events take place between Friday September 15 and Monday September 18, and the National Trust and Marine Conservation Society are asking for volunteers to ensure the beautiful beaches remain clean and safe for all.

National Trust ranger and local Great British Beach Clean organiser Wayne Appleton said this was the public's chance make this biggest clean-up of the beaches yet, at what would be o be fun and informative social occasions.

“The tide of litter washing up on our shores is not just unpleasant to look at, it can harm and even kill some of our best-loved marine wildlife," he said.

"Over 170 species including seabirds, turtles and whales have mistaken marine litter for food and actually eaten it, which in many cases has resulted in starvation, poisoning and ultimately a slow, painful death."

Marsden Bay looking towards Camels Island. Picture by Karen Scott

Marsden Bay looking towards Camels Island. Picture by Karen Scott

"Plastic packaging and discarded fishing nets also injure, entangle and drown some of Britain’s favourite marine animals, including seals and dolphins.

"We want people to come down to on and take part in an event that will not only make the beaches look great for visitors to the Durham Coast, but will also help the Marine Conservation Society identify where the litter comes and try to stop it at source.”

Events takes place on:

Friday September 15 at Blast Beach near Seaham

Saturday September 16 at Hawthorn Hythe near Hawthorn Dene

Sunday September 17 at Easington Beach

Monday September 18 at Horden Beach

All of the events start at 10am and finish about 2pm,

Another National Trust-led beach clean, organised by staff and volunteers at Souter Lighthouse and The Leas takes, takes place at Marsden Bay at 12.45pm on Friday September 15.

The Great British Beach Clean is supported by supermarket chain Waitrose. It is part of the MCS’s wider Beachwatch programme, and also serves as a litter survey and a chance to highlight the issues of beach litter around the UK’s coastline.

During the MCS 2016 Great British Beach Clean, 268,384 individual items of litter were collected at 364 events by just under 6,000 volunteers. Sandwich containers, along with crisp, sweet and lolly wrappers, were the third highest find with almost 44 items per 100m.

This year, thanks to recycling firm TerraCycle, for the first time many of the plastics removed from beaches will be sorted and recycled, giving them a second life as new products. Rigid plastic and cigarette stubs collected will be turned into shampoo bottles and advertising boards.

Anyone wanting to take part in the clean up on the Durham Coast can find out more by contacting Wayne by email at or by telephone on 07825 948750.

For details of the Marsden Bay beach clean, call 0191 529 3161.

You can also visit to sign up online for the events.