Charity calls for help to stem rising tide of plastic on beach

Sandsend beach.
Sandsend beach.

The Marine Conservation Society (MCS) and supermarket giant Waitrose have joined forces to create a new series of beach and river clean events, including some along the Whitby coastline.

The idea is that more people than ever before will clean and record litter from England’s beaches and rivers.

Support from Waitrose will help MCS put on more clean-ups and mobilise the public in the fight back against the rising tide of plastic litter on our beaches. The supermarket is donating £500,000 from its carrier bag funds to MCS who will organise around 1,000 beach and river clean-ups during 2017/18.

Among the beaches you can help at are Whitby’s Tate Hill Sands and Upgang Beach, Saltwick Bay, Robin Hood’s Bay, Sandsend, Runswick Bay and Staithes.

Lauren Eyles, Beachwatch Manager at the Marine Conservation Society, said: “Beach litter has steadily risen over the two decades that MCS volunteers have been recording it on UK beaches.

“Last year, on average in the UK, 694 items of litter were collected for every 100 metres cleaned. Plastic bottles and carrier bags, 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 are suffering, and most of the litter found can be traced back to us – the general public. But we can all do something positive to help - find your nearest event and get stuck in.”

The Waitrose Beach and River Clean-up series will kick off during MCS’s Great British Beach Clean event from September 15 to 18.

For the first time, many of the plastics removed from the beaches and rivers will be sorted and recycled, giving them a second life as new products.

The MCS Great British Beach Clean is a ‘citizen science’ project that has become the most respected and longstanding beach litter survey in the UK. Now, the charity hopes to create a year-long series of events that will see more than 10,000 volunteers involved.

Lauren added: “A trip down the beach should put a smile on your face, but there’s very little to be cheerful about when it comes to the sheer quantity of litter on our beaches.”

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