A BLIGHT ON OUR BEACHES
THE AMOUNT OF RUBBISH LITTERING BRITAIN’S SHORELINES IS ON THE RISE
CUTLERY, crisp packets and cotton buds are some of the most commonly found pieces of litter cluttering our beaches.
That is the latest finding from the Great British Beach Clean, in which members of the public scoured 339 beaches for litter across England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Channel Islands.
They found some 718 pieces of litter every 100 metres - an 11 per cent increase from the 649 pieces found the previous year.
Discarded plastic and polystyrene were the most collected items, with 225 pieces found for every 100 metres of beach. There were 42 discarded packets for crisps, sweets, lollies and sandwiches, and 40 pieces of glass. The volunteers also found 35 cigarette stubs per 100 metres of beach. Luckily, the cigarette stubs collected will be recycled - into outside hoarding boards.
Caps and lids (33 per 100 metres) and string and cord (31 per 100 metres) also make significant contributions to our beach litter.
And there were 28 wet wipes per 100 metres, plus 27 cotton buds.
Litter from eating and drinking including cups, cutlery, straws and foil wrappers - made up around a fifth of all rubbish found on beaches last year.
Overall the volunteers collected 255,209 pieces of litter in 2017.
Emma Cunningham, senior pollution campaigns officer for the Marine Conservation Society said: “Plastics do not simply disappear and can last for hundreds if not thousands of years at sea.
“They can also weather down into smaller plastic pieces and be eaten by marine wildlife and ultimately by us as top consumers.
“The most common issues for wildlife are through ingestion and entanglement.
“Our actions have implications for pollution in the ocean, which in turn impacts our health and welfare.
“We need to move away from a throwaway society to a circular economy in which all products are designed to be repaired, reused and remade, thereby removing waste and litter. “Everyone can make a difference. Take your rubbish home, recycle everything you can, reduce the amount of plastic you use by using reusable cups and bottles, refuse straws in drinks and remember to take reusable bags to the shops.” In recent weeks a number of large fastfood and coffee chains have signed an agreement to accelerate the UK’s recycling of plastic lined paper cups. These include Costa Coffee, Greggs, and McDonald’s.
138 pieces of ‘on-the-go litter’ were found along every 100 metres of beach
The 2018 Beach Clean will take place in September