The results of UK beach clean-ups in 2011 and a Europe wide beach clean last month by Seas At Risk member orgranisations have shown the extent of marine litter on beaches and the huge public support for tackling the problem.

The results of UK beach clean-ups in 2011 and a Europe wide beach clean last month by Seas At Risk member orgranisations have shown the extent of marine litter on beaches and the huge public support for tackling the problem.

The Marine Conservation Society’s ‘Beachwatch Big Weekend’ 2011 results provided some positive news as sewage related debris was shown to have fallen by around 30% since 2010 and overall litter levels fell by 10% since 2010.

However, the 4,500 volunteers who cleaned 335 beaches still found colossal amounts of litter with almost 250,000 items of litter collected, filling over 2,177 bags. For every kilometre surveyed a staggering 1,741 pieces of litter were found.

MCS's next Beachwatch Big Weekend falls between the 11th and 13th May this year.

SURFRIDERS TO THE RESCUE

With more than 400 clean-ups taking place across Europe, the Surfrider Foundation’s beach clean up is the largest in Europe. In 2011, 42,000 volunteers in 35 countries got together to help clean up more than 1200 beaches, lakes and rivers over a weekend with the equivalent of 38 busloads of marine waste collected.

Surfrider also used this year’s event to raise awareness about their campaign: ‘Rise above Plastics’. Surfrider’s aim of the campaign is to raise awareness and to spread good habits amongst citizens in order to make the public at large and also packaging producers aware of the impact their consumption and production is having on the sea, the coasts and river banks.

Both MCS and Surfrider are supporting a call to EU states to commit to a 50% reduction in marine litter by 2020, for more information see the link to the right of this screen.

Photograph by the Marine Conservation Society

 

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