Volunteers sought to take part in national beach clean-up

Litter left on a beach.
Litter left on a beach.

An appeal has gone out for residents in Hartlepool and East Durham to take part in a national clean-up operation.

Cleaning more beaches could tip the balance when it comes to stopping the plastic tide says Marine Conservation Society (MCS).

Now the charity behind this year’s 25th Great British Beach Clean needs volunteers to take part in clean-ups, and is especially looking for individuals willing to lead a clean themselves over the weekend of September 14-17.

During last year’s event, just under 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.

Now, 25 years after the first mass beach cleaning event, the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) says the UK stands on the cusp of helping make its silver anniversary event the biggest ever.

Plastic pollution in the seas and the crisis the oceans face are no longer under the radar – industry, individuals and governments know they have to act now to take the momentum started by MCS in 1994, when the charity began collecting beach litter data to fresh heights.

The momentum has been taken to another level over the last 12 months by Blue Planet II, Sky Ocean Rescue and MCS’s own #STOPtheplastictide campaign.

The single-use plastic carrier bag charge has resulted in a 28% drop in the number of bags found on UK beaches.

To get involved in this year’s event, find a beach you want to clean – sign up and register it on the MCS online system – and the society provide all the help needed to get going at www.mcsuk.org/beachwatch/organisers

“The more beaches we have litter data for, the clearer the picture we will have of where it all comes from and what needs to be targeted next,” says Lizzie Prior, MCS beachwatch officer.

“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.

“It’s really simple and 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.

In the last year the supermarket has introduced more easily recyclable sandwich packets, banned the sale of plastic straws in store from September and stopped giving them out in their cafés and are removing all single-use takeaway coffee cups by the autumn, saving up to 52 million cups annually potentially reaching our seas.

Less litter on UK beaches will save the lives of some of our best loved marine wildlife, protect our kids building sand castles and show the world what the great British seaside really looks like beneath its escalating mountain of rubbish.